MTSU expands dual enrollment, offers tuition-free online courses

Qualified high school juniors and seniors statewide will be able to take tuition-free online courses for college credit through Middle Tennessee State University’s recently expanded dual-enrollment program.

The move, announced Tuesday, May 12, follows a new emphasis by the university on its dual-enrollment outreach, which includes MTSU courses to be taught this fall on high school campuses in Rutherford, Williamson and Bradley counties.

MTSU’s Dual Enrollment Program allows Tennessee high school students, who meet the university’s admissions criteria and gain approvals from their guidance counselors, to take college classes before they graduate.

Dr. Mike Boyle

Dr. Mike Boyle

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

“Students receive many benefits,” said University College Dean Mike Boyle, who oversees the Dual Enrollment Program. “They may be able to take classes that are required by their high school, but earn both college and high school credit at the same time. It also allows them to make an easier transition to college and can shorten how long it takes to earn their college degree.”

The online offerings, which range from courses in Aerospace to Recording Industry, will likely be attractive options to home-schooled students in search of additional academic enrichment opportunities, Boyle said.

The greatly reduced costs for the offerings are possible, Boyle said, because of a recently expanded Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant and a decision by the Tennessee Board of Regents to reduce tuition rates for dual-enrollment students.

The state recently set higher payouts for the dual enrollment grant, starting with juniors in the 2015-16 school year. Beginning with those students, the grant will pay out $500 for the first and second dual-enrollment courses, which will cover MTSU’s tuition charges. They are also eligible for $200 in grant funding for a third course.

Next fall’s seniors, however, are not eligible for the grant’s higher payouts. But MTSU created a one-year supplemental scholarship to offset the balance between the $300-per-course grant and the $500-per-course tuition cost.

Students must pay a $25 admissions application fee to MTSU. And, those taking online courses will be assessed a fee of $10 per course credit hour. Students must also assume costs for textbooks and applicable lab fees for science courses.

MTSU’s online opportunities for dual-enrollment students include:MTSU Wordmark

  • Aerospace 1010: Introduction to Aerospace
  • Agribusiness and Agriscience 1101: Greenhouse Management online
  • Agribusiness and Agriscience 2130: Ag Business
  • Anthropology 2010: Cultural Anthropology
  • Anthropology 2210: Introduction to World Prehistory
  • Communications 2300: Interpersonal Communication
  • Economics 2410-DE1: Macroeconomics
  • Geography 2000: Introduction to Regional Geography
  • Global Studies 2010: Introduction to Cross-Cultural Experiences
  • Music 1030:  Introduction to Music
  • Political Science 1005: Introduction to American Politics
  • Political Science 1010: Introduction to Global Politics
  • Political Science 2020: State and Local Government
  • Recording Industry 1020: American Media and Social Institutions
  • Sociology 1010: Introductory Sociology
  • Sociology 2010: Social Problems

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said the university’s expansion in dual enrollment, expected to grow from about 35 students this year to 500 in the fall, is an important investment.

“The governor’s Drive to 55 identifies earlier engagement by students as a key advantage for helping grow the state’s levels of educational attainment,” McPhee said. “TBR feels, and we concur, that high schools and students should have a variety of options for dual enrollment, which why they established an attractive tuition rate for its universities to offer such courses.

“We at MTSU also value the chance to establish ties sooner with students who have identified attending a four-year institution as their higher educational goal.”

Students and parents can learn more by visiting www.mtsu.edu/dualenrollment or contacting Mona Snell, MTSU’s dual enrollment advisor, at 615-898-5251 or mona.snell@mtsu.edu.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)