MANATEE COUNTY (WWSB) - Dual enrollment at the high schools in Manatee County will be returning next school year thanks to a new agreement reached between the school district and the University of South Florida.
Tuesday night the Manatee County School Board approved the dual enrollment articulation contract. School board member Dr. Scott Hopes, a candidate to become USF’s next president, says it’s something he’s been pushing for over the last six years.
“It gives those students who are academically able that are prepared to begin the rigors of an university education to begin that education as soon as they’re ready in high school and this is a huge savings to parents,” said Hopes.
The agreement comes just in time. The State College of Florida announced late last year that it is ending its dual enrollment program at high schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties on July 1, 2019, though SCF will continue to offer dual enrollment opportunities on their campuses or online.
In explaining the decision to end dual enrollment at high schools, SCF said they evaluated the program and found “academic quality inconsistencies” when the program was taught off of one of their campuses.
After the decision was announced, Manatee County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said they would seek alternatives avenues and the agreement with USF will allow dual enrollment at high schools to continue, allowing students to take college or university credits at no cost and to begin working towards their college degree while they’re in high school.
Bayshore High School Athletic Director Chris Brady is the father of three children, two of whom participated in dual enrollment through SCF. He says his son, who attends Bayshore High School, is on track to participate in dual enrollment.
“It also gives those students more options because they’re a little more ahead of the game so that when they go into college they have options," said Brady. "They’re two years ahead, they can look on maybe double majoring, look into adding some minors.”
All types of courses will be available including in the fields of education, nursing, business and engineering. USF Sarasota-Manatee says they are excited about this dual enrollment program and they are in the final stages of completing the agreement.