OMAHA -- Metropolitan Community College has unveiled a tempting offer for Nebraska high school students who want a jumpstart on college credits.
The college's Board of Governors approved a resolution Tuesday to use federal COVID-19 relief money to cover tuition and books for Nebraska high school students taking courses this summer.
Enrollment in the college took a hit last summer as the pandemic raged, and officials hope their offer will pull in thousands of students.
The college saw about a 15% drop in summer enrollment from 2019 to 2020, said Bill Owen, the college's vice president for strategic initiatives.
They hope to make that up.
"If we're truly in recovery mode, and we hope we are, we think we'll see a return to those numbers," he said.
Typically, high school students who enroll in the college's CollegeNow program pay $33 per credit hour — half the full rate.
This summer, students will be allowed to attend courses for free. Students will be responsible for tools or other required supplies.
The CollegeNow program is designed for high school students to jumpstart their college education. Each class is taught by faculty on campus or online. College officials are paying for the program with federal money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
CollegeNow courses are transferrable to colleges and universities, but credit acceptance is up to the receiving school, Owen said.
With the University of Nebraska at Omaha and other regional institutions, those transfer paths are well defined, he said.
MCC also has relationships with hundreds of universities and colleges, and largely the general education requirements, like English, math and social sciences, will transfer, he said.
"So if a kid already knows I'm going off to the university this fall, but I want to get a head start, they're going to want to take classes that are on that transfer path," he said.
The pandemic caused many high school students to fall behind or miss out on the CollegeNow offerings, said Chuck Chevalier, associate vice president of secondary partnerships and enrollment management.
A 10-week summer session will start June 6 and end Aug. 16. There will also be two five-week sessions, one running June 6 to July 12, the other July 13 to Aug. 16.
Whether a student gets high school credit for taking the course is up to the high school, he said.
Breaking down Nebraska's colleges and universities
“We are excited to lift the face covering restriction from required to highly recommended, allowing our students and staff a sense of normality” for the last five days of the school year, said the press release.
Nebraska high schoolers who enrolled in career and technical education programs, which offer high-demand career courses in field like finance and health sciences, had a graduation rate of 99.2%, the study showed.