MCC Announces Pathways to College Program

Madisonville Community College (MCC) is preparing to take its dual credit programs for area high school students to a new level for the new school year with the announcement of its Pathways to College program. This effort is part of a new statewide initiative involving the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Kentucky TECH system through a statewide agreement approved by Governor Beshear last fall.

The Pathways to College Program is MCC’s local response to the statewide Go 2 College Early Program originating from the new statewide agreement. According to MCC President Dr. Judith Rhoads, “The Pathways to College Program represents a reinvigorating commitment from the college and its local school partners to provide high school students dual credit opportunities in courses that will be equivalent to courses on a college campus. The rigor in these courses will help students raise their expectations and performance as they transition from high school to college.”

Preparation of high school students for career and college is a major focus of the Kentucky public school system. Jay Parrent, Dean of Student Affairs at MCC, is also on the Kentucky Board of Education. He likes the new program as “it reinforces in its name the importance of providing pathways for high school students. The courses taken in the Pathways to College Program lead students to completion of a college program at MCC or elsewhere if a student chooses.”

For the 2011-12 school year, MCC enrolled more than 1,500 dual credit students in Muhlenberg, Hopkins, Webster, Caldwell and Crittenden Counties. “These students took up to four dual credit courses, most of which tuition was waived,” explained Dr. Deborah Cox, Chief Academic Affairs Officer at the college. “This saved their families significantly on tuition and college textbooks provided by the local schools which helps to keep the rise in college costs within family budgets.”

The new statewide initiative will involve a modest $50 per student per semester charge that students will be required to pay. George Humphreys, MCC dual credit coordinator, offers that “this charge still represents a tremendous advantage to students who might pay $50 for two courses that would otherwise cost them $840 in tuition or over $1,500 at one of the state’s four-year schools.”

Dr. Rhoads views this initiative as one in a series of steps to encourage more students in the region to go to college and maximize their career opportunities. She explains, “MCC provided our local 8th and 10th grade students with testing nearly 8 years ago so that they and their parents could gauge their progress towards college readiness, an initiative that the Kentucky Department of Education later extended to all schools in Kentucky. In recent years, MCC has devoted additional resources to make going to college for high school seniors more seamless.”

Dr. Cox concludes that “the Pathways to College Program will more closely align MCC with our high school partners, encourage the transition to college, and improve the region’s economic competitiveness through creation of a workforce that will retain and attract employers.”