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Iowa H.S. students lead nation in earning college credit

February 28, 2018

Iowa H.S. students lead nation in earning college credit

Almost a third of Iowa students jump straight into college before receiving a high school cap and gown, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Education.

Nearly 31 percent of Iowa high school students earned community college credit hours in 2017, the highest percentage of any state. Called “joint enrollment,” these students take classes to earn college credit hours through one of Iowa’s 15 community colleges. These credit hours transfer to most two or four year universities after the student graduates high school, and the students earn them for free. It’s a way for students to start working on a college degree at a reduced cost.

The number of Iowa students taking advantage of joint enrollment is growing steadily. Since 2004, the number in Iowa has grown 137 percent. In addition to more students participating, jointly enrolled students in 2017 earned a greater number of college credit hours on average than students did in 2004. In fact, 111 Iowa high school students earned enough college credit hours to be granted full associate’s degrees in 2017.

Increasing the number of Iowans with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and education or training beyond high school is a priority of Iowa’s leadership. The number of Iowa high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests in STEM subjects increased 32 percent from 2012 to 2016. The goal of the Future Ready Iowa program is for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025.



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