Oklahoma high school seniors can earn 18 college credit hours tuition-free

The concurrent enrollment program offered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education allows public colleges and universities statewide to waive tuition up to six hours per semester for eligible high school seniors, starting with the summer before their senior year.
by Kathryn McNutt Modified: May 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: May 25, 2014

— Christen Hickey’s expectation since early childhood was to be a nurse.

What she didn’t expect was to take her first nursing class — and other college courses — while still in high school.

Hickey had 11 college credits under her belt when she started her freshman year at the University of Central Oklahoma.

And those 11 hours were tuition-free, thanks to the concurrent enrollment program offered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The program allows public institutions in Oklahoma to waive tuition up to six hours per semester for eligible high school seniors, starting with the summer before their senior year. That can add up to 18 hours earned before high school graduation.

“You’re almost a sophomore when you get here,” said Jay Corwin, senior associate vice president in student affairs at UCO. “It’s such an incredible opportunity.”

Students testing the waters don’t have to commit to the institution where they take the classes. Administrators recommend courses like government, English and college algebra because those credits can transfer to almost any other college or university if the student chooses to go elsewhere, he said.

Students who take concurrent enrollment courses in high school get ahead of the game so they can take fewer hours each semester going forward, Corwin said.

“It’s a gift to high school seniors,” he said.

‘Learning the ropes’

Hickey, 19, was beginning her senior year at Edmond Memorial High School in 2012 when she took her first course at UCO and discovered she fit in just fine.

“I started in August along with everyone who was a freshman. I seemed like another freshman learning the ropes,” she said.

While some of her high school friends were suffering from the senior slump, Hickey said she felt invigorated.

“It was a breath of fresh air to leave the high school campus (at midday) and have that freedom. Everyone trusted me,” she said.

During the spring semester, Hickey drove to UCO with her introduction to nursing textbook in the seat next to her. “That really motivated me,” she said.

By the time she graduated last May, she was “twice as excited” to go to college. And on her “real first day of college,” she saw familiar faces among the students and faculty and knew her way around campus.

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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At a glance

Concurrent enrollment

It isn’t too late for high school seniors to enroll in summer courses at UCO. They can go to www.uco.edu/concurrent or call 974-2727. For information about concurrent enrollment at other campuses, call the Oklahoma public college or university you wish to attend.

Did you know?

Concurrent enrollment students are more likely than their peers to go to college, persist in college and graduate, according to the State Regents office.

I started in August along with everyone who was a freshman. I seemed like another freshman learning the ropes. ... It was a breath of fresh air to leave the high school campus (at midday) and have that freedom.”

Christen Hickey,
University of Central Oklahoma nursing student

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