Sen. Michael J. McCaffreys bill (2013-S 0639Aaa) directs the state Board of Education to allow students to enroll in courses at a postsecondary institution to satisfy academic credit requirements in both high school and the aforementioned institution of higher education. The senator said the legislation affords bright, hard-working high school seniors the opportunity to get on track for a college degree before they finish high school.
This statewide dual enrollment policy can really make a difference for some of our young students who worry over the financial obstacles of postsecondary learning, Senator McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) said. High school seniors can take some or all of their senior year classes at the Community College of Rhode Island, earning college credits simultaneously as they complete their courses in their final year of high school.
Its also a chance for students to get ahead weve seen these kinds of programs improve high school graduation and college enrollment rates all across the country. Its an exciting element of education and economic reform in Rhode Island, and Im proud my colleagues have recognized the value it could have to the future of the states workforce.
The legislation also calls for the establishment of a workgroup, composed of representatives from superintendents, school committees, teachers and public higher education institutions to consider and advise the Board of Education about the new policy and its possible effect on school funding, shared costs of education, fee schedules, low-income student access and contracted tuition costs. If enacted, school districts would be required to adopt the policy by June 30, 2015.
Sen. Juan M. Pichardos bill (2013-S 0511A) would direct the state Board of Education to implement a reverse transfer policy, which would create an avenue for students to transfer credits from a four-year college to a two-year school. The legislation is meant to catch college students who may, for one reason or another, be unable to complete a four-year degree so they can at least obtain an associates degree before jumping into the workforce.
This policy will more accurately reflect a students educational attainment and level without holding him or her back from making a living, Senator Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence) said. Many jobs require people to have some sort of postsecondary degree. Right now, there are students who could actively demonstrate they have the proper skills for a job but are not being considered for it because they havent finished school. We have to take into account that there are many reasons outside of academic struggles that can cause a student to leave school without finishing, including family tragedy, illness and more commonly: financial trouble. Rhode Island must embrace this bill in order to make education more accessible to everyone. Well all be better for it in the end.
An individuals earning potential and the likelihood that the student will return to complete a four-year degree tend to increase when he or she is awarded an associates degree, said Senator Pichardo.
Typically, transfer students begin working on their bachelors degrees while at CCRI and eventually transfer credits earned at the school to a four-year college or university. A reverse transfer would work in the opposite allowing credits obtained toward a bachelors at a four-year college or university to be transferable to CCRI toward the completion of an associates degree. If, upon review, a sufficient number of credits, academic achievements and necessary classes have been obtained, the student would be awarded an associates degree as long as enrollment requirements from the Board of Education are met.
Cosponsors of Senator McCaffreys bill include President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) and Senators Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, Warwick) and Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton). Senators Gallo, DiPalma, Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) and Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) cosponsor Senator Pichardos legislation. Both bills will head to the House for consideration.