College credit program for high schoolers earns national accreditation
The University of Missouri–St. Louis Advanced Credit Program has earned accreditation by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.
UMSL’s Advanced Credit Program is a dual credit program that allows students to earn college credit and become familiar with the college experience while still in high school. College credits earned through ACP are accepted at all of Missouri’s public colleges and universities and many other institutions across the country.
Kathleen Burns, director of UMSL’s Advanced Credit Program, said the accreditation process was quite rigorous.
“We had to provide evidence that we were meeting 15 separate standards,” she said. “Three in each of the following categories: students, faculty, curriculum, assessment and evaluation. That evidence is then reviewed by a team from NACEP.”
UMSL’s ACP began with a pilot program during the 1986-87 school year, with 10 schools in six districts and a student enrollment of 919. The program has grown steadily in the more than 20 years since, and currently includes more than 56 schools, 3,400 students, and over 6,000 enrollments each year.
NACEP is a professional organization for high schools and colleges that fosters and supports rigorous concurrent enrollment programs, sometimes referred to as dual credit or advanced credit programs. Established in 1999 in response to the dramatic increase in concurrent enrollment courses throughout the country, NACEP serves as a national accrediting body and supports all members by providing standards of excellence, research, communication and advocacy.
With NACEP accreditation, UMSL joins the University of Missouri–Kansas City and Missouri Baptist University as the only universities to be accredited in Missouri.
UMSL was one of 13 concurrent enrollment programs whose accreditation was announced last week. Nationally, only 66 programs are accredited by NACEP.
Burns said that earning accreditation was an important step for UMSL’s Advanced Credit Program.
“Accredited programs ensure students, parents, high schools, as well as other colleges and universities, that we are maintaining an excellent program that is on par with ‘regular’ on-campus courses,” she said, adding that the Advanced Credit Program was in keeping with UMSL’s mission to serve its surrounding community.
“We are providing a service to the community for students who would like to get a head start on college,” Burns said.
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