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Prescott High School students laud dual credit to fight college costs

Prescott High School Junior Courtney Krenig, front right, makes a report in a Medical Terminology class recently. Krenig and others in the class will receive not only credit toward high school graduation, but also credit at Chippewa Valley Technical College, which can be transferred to some universities. That could save Krenig, who plans on attending UW-River Falls, hundreds of dollars. -- Photo submitted

PRESCOTT--Prescott High School Junior Courtney Krenig has a dream of enrolling in medical school and becoming a doctor specializing in sports and athletics-related health. Krenig plans to start out locally, though, at UW-River Falls.

Actually, she has already started on her college coursework with a class in Medical Terminology at Prescott High School. Through the class, she is earning not only credits toward her high school graduation, but credits at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), which are transferrable to a number of universities, including UWRF. Already having those credits will save her hundreds of dollars in tuition and fees at college.

The program is called "dual credit," and its use has been growing rapidly in school districts throughout CVTC's 11-county area, and in other technical college districts throughout the state.

At a time when college costs and resulting student debt are rising, families are looking for ways to cut costs and the time spent in college. Dual credit is designed to do both and is ideal for a student like Krenig, who found she was getting an extra benefit from a class she planned to take anyway.

"I didn't know it was dual credit until I got here, but I'm happy I will get the credits. I took it to save time, so I didn't have to take it in college. Now they will be like elective credits for me in college," she said.

With dual credit, students earn full credit directly from the technical college, just as if the student took the class at the college.

"They get credit on their (CVTC) transcript right away. They don't have to apply for it. That credit can transfer to a university too," said CVTC Registrar Jessica Schwartz. "We are looking for ways to create pathways from high school to CVTC, and to their bachelor's degree at a university."

For more please read the May 1 print version of the Herald.