For the 2018-19 school year, Circle is offering dual enrollment classes through Southeastern University (SEU). Here’s why we’ve added the on-campus SEU dual enrollment options for our students.
The Issue | In recent years, the State of Florida has changed its procedure for the direct funding of dual enrollment classes for all Florida students. Florida did this by creating a new funding department for public schools. The new directive states that colleges will assess standard tuition rates to the schools from Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). Therefore, the FEFP pays all dual enrollment costs for public school students, and public schools lose none of their funding. Next, it was determined that since public schools were invoiced, private schools should also be billed. However, private schools were not included in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and were told to pay dual enrollment charges from their own funds.
Additionally, the State of Florida added a provision stating that all costs associated with dual enrollment tuition, including registration and laboratory fees, may not be passed along to the student/parents by private schools.
Together, these two procedural changes mean that Circle Christian School would be directly responsible for the payment of all students’ dual enrollment tuition at state schools AND would not be able to recoup those fees in any way. Obviously, this is financially untenable for our school. Therefore, for 2018-19 school year, there are no dual enrollment opportunities available to our students at state colleges and universities.
The Solution | Due to the State of Florida’s rulings, Circle will not be able to offer dual enrollment at state colleges. However, we WILL be offering dual enrollment through Southeastern University. Alerted to the burden placed on private schools by the State of Florida’s procedural changes, Southeastern University developed a unique articulation agreement, which permits qualified masters-degreed teachers to be credentialed by Southeastern University as their own university professors. Recently, five CCS teachers volunteered to complete the rigors required for dual certification empowering Circle Christian to offer eight new university courses on our own campuses. Additionally, we will continue to offer two college-credit classes from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Because of these efforts, we are excited and thankful that Circle families can choose from ten university classes in 2018-19.
We believe there are many benefits for students taking dual enrollment classes. Students experience the academic rigor of a college class, which helps prepare him/her for college classes to come. Students earn credits that may shorten the time needed to earn a bachelor’s degree. Through Southeastern University dual enrollment courses, students are taught from a Biblical worldview, while still being prepared to take the same college finals as do other university students.
The Question | Will the dual enrollment credits our students earn from Southeastern University be broadly accepted at their ultimate college?
Before applying to any college or university, it is important to check out the school’s accrediting agency. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education view regional accreditation as the “Gold Standard.” All high schools and colleges that earn regional accreditation must meet the same rigorous standards. Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions are more reliably transferrable than credits earned at other institutions. The regional accreditation agencies are:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Higher Learning Commission (formerly NCA North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
- Northwest Accreditation Commission (NAC)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Circle Christian School is regionally accredited by AdvancED SACS. To determine the viability of Southeastern University dual enrollment credits being broadly accepted, the Guidance Office called other universities, such as UF, UCF, FSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. All of these institutions stated they would recognize Southeastern University dual enrollment credits because both Southeastern University and Circle Christian School have the SACS accreditation. This was great news!
A Warning | While the State of Florida restricted private school student access to dual enrollment, they permitted it for students homeschooling through the county. If you or a friend is considering pulling a student out of Circle Christian School to homeschool through the county for senior year, be forewarned! That decision may cost you thousands of dollars in Bright Future scholarship funds. This is because of another State of Florida ruling stating students cannot freely switch from being a private school student to being a homeschooler with the county AND still be eligible for Bright Futures scholarships.
Students must complete their 11th and 12th grade years in either a private/public school setting OR be registered as a homeschooler through the county. Switches CANNOT be made in between junior and senior year, or, according to Florida statutes, the student forfeits all Bright Futures Scholarship benefits.
The Future | We are always working to provide our families with as many options as possible. This is simply the latest information on dual enrollment with State of Florida colleges and universities. If the State of Florida revisits and revises this situation next term, making it truly possible for all students to dual enroll for free, then Circle Christian will again enter into the articulation agreements with state schools. Circle’s Guidance Office is closely monitoring this issue and will continue to inform our families. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Sue McIntyre at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Circle Office.