Tulsa Community College partners with Norman Public Schools to graduate students with associate degrees

Tulsa Community College is collaborating with Norman Public Schools to give an opportunity to high school students to earn an associate degree.

The cost for this is $5,500, which is close to half the cost of an Associate degree by the time a student finishes high school. But how would you be able to get the students back and forth without tiring them on their journey to and from the college in Tulsa?

The catch to this is that instead of having them travel from Norman to Tulsa to learn in person, it will be an online learning program to earn a liberal arts degree. This will permit Norman students to transfer to a four-year university to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree program at any Oklahoma university.

Students are also eligible for “High School Plus One” (dual credit by TCC) to earn up to a year’s worth or 31 credit hours of transferable college credits. Norman has over 15,000 students in the district, and it has over 1,400 students who meet the criteria for an associate degree and are not enrolled in AP (Advanced Placement) or other concurrent courses.

TCC expects 30 students to enroll in the program, but they think they might enlarge this number with the launch this summer.

Tulsa Community College provides an opportunity for Norman Public School students to begin their college careers sooner. (Photo Provided by Devin Banks)

Due to the program’s open-source curriculum, there will be little to no costs for books so it will not prevent students from participating. Removing barriers will help students to complete their prerequisites before completing their educations at a four-year university.

Norman Public Schools contacted TCC about its experience working with high school students with dual credit programs. TCC offers courses to 13 school districts in the state, with an exponential increase in high school students obtaining their associate degrees.

“I often say that NPS would not be the district it is without the support of our community partners, and we are thrilled to add TCC to this list. We were drawn to TCC’s well-established associate degree program for several reasons, including the virtual format, its use of mostly open-source curriculum, and its proven process,” said Dr. Nick Migilorano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools.

“The model TCC has created and uses with schools in Tulsa was very appealing to us, especially since it had already been vetted and there are students going through the program,” said Migilorano.

The curriculum for students will include enrolling into six semesters using dual credit, completing 61 college credit hours, and earning the college credits in addition to the high school requirements for graduation. The classes in question will be asynchronous and online live courses for flexible student scheduling.  

“These high school students will have the option of getting a head start on accruing college credit, allowing them to potentially finish a bachelor’s degree in half the time. TCC will provide a combination of in-person and online support for students to help them explore careers and majors,” said Melissa Steadley, director of dual credit programs at TCC.

TCC Connection received additional comments about the Norman Public Schools and Tulsa Community College partnership from Melissa Steadley, director of dual credit programs at TCC:

Do you have any statistics or a graph for the number of high school students obtaining their diplomas with an associate degree per year?

In 2018, we had three high school seniors complete AA/AS degrees. Last year, that number was 74 students. We are on track to graduate approximately 90 this year and 120 in 2025.

What are the other 13 school districts in partnership with TCC’s dual credit program?

Dual credit programs work with over 175 school districts statewide. We currently have 13 of those districts with juniors/seniors working on degrees. We have students in Owasso, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Epic, Home-educated, Union, Memorial, McLain, Sand Springs, KIPP, etc.

Do you plan to look into other school districts in Oklahoma for online programs?

We are open to helping districts as they approach us, if approved by our administration. We do not “look for other districts.” We do not advertise either.

If things go well between TCC and the NPS, do you think that you will look at other associate programs to offer to NPS or maybe to the other 13 school districts?

We are currently using multiple AA, AS, and AAS degrees with our partner districts. It depends on the student and/or district’s need.

What kind of classes will be offered as online live or asynchronous online for NPS students?

We use a wide range of courses: ENGL, MATH, HIST, POLS, COMM, SOCI, PHIL, BIOL, PHSC, PSYC, RELG, etc. TCC offers many online and online live courses. Again, we tailor to the district’s needs for modality.

The partnership between TCC and NPS is an advantage for students wanting to get a head start in their respective associate degree programs and helps students financially to afford getting a head start on their higher education goals.

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