After months of study, Baker said some advantages of the program would be to create more educational opportunities to Hutto ISD students and produce globally competitive graduates.
“That’s why we’re moving in this direction,” Baker said. “Our thought is that every student in Hutto ISD can benefit from an associates degree program.”
Baker said the program would begin for incoming ninth and 10th grade students and allow all participants to acclimate to a college-level educational experience while still in high school.
HISD students would receive priority enrollment, after which, a general enrollment period would begin and courses would be open to everyone. She said open enrollment introduces the possibility of HISD students mixed in the same classes as traditional post-graduate learners.
One disadvantage noted by Baker is the difficulty in asking teenagers to decide on a career path at such an earlier age.
“We’re asking them to basically assess realistic future goals, for example, ‘What do you want to do in four years, because we want to put you in the right path of course selection?’ That’s hard to do when you’re asking a 14 or 15-year-old to do a self-assessment—it’s a challenge,” Baker said.
The district plans for the cost-sharing ratio between students and HISD to remain the same as the current fees associated with the dual credit program.
“We’re going to work within our budget. We have a pretty rigorous budget for college and career. The student pays $25 per class, and [HISD will] pay $164 right now, but tuition may go up,” Baker said. “That’s for dual credit, and these courses will cost us the same amount.”