Students at 10 area high schools will be able to earn college credits from Richard Stockton College for specific college-level courses they take at their high schools during the 2013-14 school year.

College officials announced Tuesday that Ocean City has joined the partnership Stockton developed to offer dual enrollment programs. Other participating high schools include the three Greater Egg Harbor Regional high schools of Absegami, Oakcrest and Cedar Creek; Egg Harbor Township; Mainland Regional in Linwood; the Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Mays Landing; the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences, or MATES, in Stafford Township; Southern Regional in Stafford Township; and the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, or MAST, in Sandy Hook, Monmouth County.

The partnerships reflect a national initiative toward helping high school students be better prepared for college, graduate more quickly and have less debt.

"These are students who will go on to college," said Stockton Provost Harvey Kesselman. "It helps make high school more meaningful."

Atlantic Cape Community College has offered similar arrangements for several years, Dean of Liberal Studies Ronald McArthur said. It and currently has dual credit partnerships with eight high schools and a program with police academies that allows recruits to earn credits toward a criminal justice degree.

Ocean City school Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said in a statement that students who take advantage of the Stockton courses will be able to complete college more quickly and save on tuition expenses.

Students will pay $100 per credit, or $400 for a typical four-credit course. The regular cost for a four-credit undergraduate course is almost $474 per credit, or $1,896 based on the per-credit cost. Full-time Stockton students pay a flat rate tuition that can lower the cost to about $308 per credit for students taking the maximum 20 credits per semester.

Participating students will get a Stockton transcript and can apply their credits toward a degree there or as transfer credits to another college.

"The true beneficiaries of this relationship will be our students and their families," Taylor said.

Kesselman said they can offer the courses at a lower cost because they are not paying the teacher or providing classroom space. Stockton approves the courses, provides some training to the teachers, and assigns a faculty member to work with the high school teachers. Participating high school teachers must have the same qualifications as a college adjunct professor, and Kesselman said some of the high school teachers in the program have taught courses at Stockton.

"We want teachers we either have hired, or would hire," he said.

Johanna Johnson, director of curriculum at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, said one of their teachers, John Menzel, also teaches at Stockton, which made the program an easy transition for both schools. ACIT also allows seniors to attend Atlantic Cape Community College.

"The students who go to Atlantic Cape get to have a college experience," she said. "The dual credit with Stockton gives them another option."

ACIT currently offers honors calculus and honors biology with Stockton. Ocean City students will be able to take pre-calculus, cells and molecules, and techniques of film and video production for dual credit.

Greater Egg Harbor Regional was the first high school district to partner with Stockton in 2011-12, offering the option on honors pre-calculus and environmental science. For 2013-14 GEHR will offer eight dual credit courses with Stockton and two with Atlantic Cape, Superintendent Steven Ciccariello said.

"The feedback we have received from students, parents and faculty is all extremely positive," Ciccariello said.

There were 33 students in those first courses at GEHR. Next year more than 400 students are expected to participate at the 10 high schools.

Kesselman said the rapid expansion of the program is a sign that students want and appreciate the options. He said Stockton is willing to keep expanding, but he has to be sure that Stockton faculty overseeing the program are not over-extended. He said an unanticipated bonus has been the opportunity for Stockton faculty to learn more about area high schools, and for high school teachers to learn what is expected in college.

"It's really helped us see what is happening in high schools and what students will need when they get here," Kesselman said.

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