FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 6, 2017
Bluffton High, University of South Carolina
Beaufort unveil new dual-credit partnership
BEAUFORT – Students at Bluffton High can soon begin earning college credits at the University of South Carolina Beaufort through a new partnership between the two schools.
A memorandum of agreement between the Beaufort County School District and the university will allow Bluffton High students to take courses from USCB professors beginning with the 2017-18 academic year. There will be no cost to students.
The USCB partnership announcement follows on the heels of Bluffton High’s selection by the College Board to participate in the AP Capstone program. Beginning next school year, AP Capstone will allow students to earn a special diploma signifying their mastery of skills valued by colleges and employers.
Bluffton High Principal Denise Garison said that the new USCB partnership will complement the school’s existing Advanced Placement and AP Capstone programs.
“It opens up an even wider selection of choices for our students,” Garison said. “Now, in addition to earning college credits through AP classes, students will also be able earn credits through courses taught by USCB professors.”
Three USCB courses – College Algebra, Introduction to Sociology and Public Communication – will be taught on Bluffton High’s campus, while other courses will be available to students on USCB’s campus.
“USCB is pleased to partner with Bluffton High School and the Beaufort County School District in offering Bluffton High students additional opportunities to complete college classes during their junior and senior years,” said Mack Palmour, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at USCB. "Our partnership will give students the chance to take USCB classes at the high school or attend them at the Hilton Head Gateway Campus in Bluffton.”
Students at all district high schools can earn college credits via AP courses as well as through dual-credit courses through the Technical College of the Lowcountry. A more formalized partnership with TCL is housed at Whale Branch Early College High School, where students can simultaneously work toward high school diplomas and two-year college associates’ degrees. At Battery Creek High, students can earn college credits through a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Bluffton High’s new partnership with USCB presents yet another option.
The number of district students enrolled in dual-credit courses increased from 228 during the 2014-15 school year to 352 in 2015-16.
“Taken together, our dual-credit and Advanced Placement courses represent tremendous opportunities for students,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Students can earn their college degrees in less than four years, so they and their parents end up paying far less in tuition and living expenses.”
In order for Bluffton High students to qualify for USCB’s dual-credit courses, they must have at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average, a written recommendation from Principal Garison, a passing grade on the Accuplacer Test and a writing sample approved by USCB’s English Department. Successful applicants will have no tuition fees because the district will pay $240 per student for a typical three-credit college course. USCB will waive application and registration fees.
In addition to the availability of USCB courses, Bluffton High also offers 15 AP courses in subjects that include English, U.S. History, calculus, chemistry, biology, physics, art, psychology, U.S. History and U.S. Government. Bluffton High was the district’s top performer on AP exams last year, with 71 percent of AP students scoring high enough for college credit.