Designed to support students’ transition to college, the program allows current high school students the opportunity to take online college courses for both high school and college credit.
"Western, along with ten other state institutions of higher education in Southern Colorado, have embarked on this exciting and innovative educational initiative that will positively impact high school students and their families, as they prepare for post-secondary academic careers," said Western’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Manzanares-Gonzales. “High school students will now have the unique opportunity to take online college-level courses while enrolled in high school."
Manzanares-Gonzales added that the program may also help decrease the cost of a college education.
"This can result in a tremendous savings for families ," she said. “Students in other areas have earned up to the equivalent of an associate’s degree by their high school graduation."
Graduating high school students completing 15 hours in the concurrent enrollment program may also be eligible for a $2,000 Western academic scholarship. The scholarship is available for up to eight consecutive semesters, and recipients may also qualify for additional institutional, state and federal awards.
In support of the project, Western has developed ten online courses across six disciplines to be offered in fall 2012. Course offerings are scheduled to expand each semester.
Western is one of ten Southern Colorado colleges and university to develop the concurrent enrollment program -while collaborating on a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Other institutions in the consortium include Adams State University, Colorado State University – Pueblo, Ft. Lewis College, University of Colorado Springs, Lamar Community College, Otero Junior College, Pueblo Community College, Pikes Peak Community College and Trinidad State Junior College.
Founded in 1901, Western is a public, liberal arts college located in Gunnison, Colo. With an enrollment of 2,300 taught by 120 faculty members, Western offers bachelors of arts degrees in 22 areas of study, a bachelor of fine arts, master of arts in education and a master of fine arts in creative writing. Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 1331 on Monday, June 4, 2012 officially changing Western’s name to Western State Colorado University. The name change will take effect on August 1, 2012.