The Dual Credit Decision

A new academic offering provides both challenges and opportunities

The Dual Credit Decision

This fall marks the start of Jones students being able to enroll in Dual Credit courses in conjunction with Loyola University. Dual Credit classes give juniors and seniors the opportunity to take classes taught at their own school for both high school and college credit. For teachers to become dual credit certified, the Illinois Dual Credit Quality Act requires that they have the same qualifications that would be required to teach the class at the college level.   

Unlike AP classes, Dual Credit classes provide college credit simply upon passing; there is no need to take an extra exam. Students are considered part-time Loyola students but the credit hour cost is significantly cheaper than what it would be if the class were to be taken after High School.

This year, 12 different Dual Credit courses are being offered in the subject areas of science, english, world language, and art. With a college-level curriculum built by a Jones instructor and their assigned Loyola faculty member, as well as actual college credit, the Dual Credit program is an exciting addition to Jones College Prep’s academic opportunities.

While questions have been raised about the last minute implementation of the program, Dual Credit certified English teacher Ernesto Saldivar sees some real benefits. He emphasizes the importance of students being able to save money by taking “one less class in college.” He believes it will provide “specific benefits for undocumented students,” who are ineligible for financial aid under FAFSA, but would not need that aid to take Dual Credit classes.  

In the case of Andrew Blancarte’16, the implementation of the Dual Credit program came as quite a surprise. “I chose to take World Literature {the standard senior english class}as a balance to the other AP classes I am taking. I didn’t think it would add this much work to my already busy schedule.” Since the implementation was made after schedules were finalized, students like Blancarte were unable to change their schedule once they heard about the change.

Other students experienced technical obstacles in completing their Dual Credit enrollment. In the case of Brennan Quinn’16, the deadline to enroll passed before he was able to complete the necessary online application. Quinn as well as other students were forced to call the Dual Credit office at Loyola too seek a special deadline extension, which they were ultimately given.  

By next year the Dual Credit program will be able to run more smoothly so students can get the full benefits of the program without reservation.