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CPS touts rise in number of high school students earning college credits

Updated: January 31, 2014 12:46AM



More than 2,300 Chicago Public Schools students are getting college credit at 30 high schools across the city in a program that has increased threefold since it began in 2011.

CPS on Thursday unveiled its Early College Initiative program figures, showing an increase in the number of CPS juniors and seniors at participating high schools gaining free college credits.

CPS says it hopes to meet a goal of 4,000 participating students by the 2015-2016 school season. CPS began with just five participating schools and expects to have 38 schools involved by next school year.

Students at participating schools are enrolling in dual enrollment classes, meaning they are attending college classes at Chicago City Colleges, which sets aside 700 free seats for CPS students each semester, creating more than 2,100 free total seats. Students pay for books and fees but the course is part of their CPS curriculum, according to Veenu Verma, executive director of the Early College Initiatives program.

Students are also participating in dual credit classes at CPS schools, in which the college credit classes are being taught within the high school, Verma said.

Schools go through a process to get in on the program and are approved by both CPS and City Colleges.

Students must meet certain benchmarks in the ACT or COMPASS, the placement test for community colleges. CPS says nearly 12,000 high school juniors and seniors became eligible for Early College Initiative for this school year, and that is roughly one quarter of all CPS students in those grade levels.

About 1,000 students are enrolled in dual credit courses and 1,350 are enrolled in dual enrollment courses through the partnership with City Colleges.

Email: tsfondeles@suntimes.com

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