Stronger together

LU and CVCC launch dual enrollment

Liberty University and Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) entered into an agreement Wednesday, Oct. 17 that allows high school graduates the opportunity to simultaneously take classes at both schools in a dual-enrollment program.

The program, which could start as soon as Spring 2017, gives 50 qualified students the ability to take prerequisite and gateway courses at Liberty while they are enrolled as a student at CVCC.

Each dual-enrolled student is allowed to take one course at Liberty per semester while they work to receive their associate’s degree at CVCC.

To be qualified for the program, a student must be taking at least six credit hours at CVCC and be on-track to receive their associate degree.

Once the student receives their associate degree, they may transfer to Liberty full-time to finish and receive their bachelor’s degree.

The classes that dual-enrolled students take at Liberty will be able to count as credit toward their associate degree and will also count toward their bachelor’s degree once they transfer.

According to Liberty Executive Vice President of Enrollment Management Chris Johnson, Liberty’s financial aid office is cooperating with CVCC to lower the price of Liberty classes to CVCC’s current rate for dual-enrolled students.

Doing this, he said, makes it possible for students to begin their education at Liberty at a cheaper rate while enrolled at CVCC.

Currently, the price of one credit hour at CVCC is $138 compared to Liberty’s $490, allowing dual-enrolled students to save up to 72 percent on one credit hour.

According to Johnson, the lower price of classes became the reason for limiting dual-enrolled students to taking one Liberty three credit class a semester.

“What we don’t want happening is a student graduating high school, going over to CVCC and taking a three-credit hour class, getting a CVCC rate and coming over to Liberty to get their entire bachelor’s degree,” Johnson said.

“The class limit is kind of a way to protect that.”

Dual-enrolled students can take any class at Liberty that would be able to substitute for a similar class at CVCC.

LEARN — The CVCC gives students the opportunity to save time and money while obtaining their degree.  Photo Credit: Amber Tiller

LEARN — The CVCC gives students the opportunity to save time and money while obtaining their degree.
Photo Credit: Amber Tiller

Liberty Senior Vice President of Student Financial Services Robert Ritz said most of the classes offered will be general education and prerequisite courses that students would usually take at a community college prior to transferring to a four-year university.

“If you look at a typical CVCC degree completion plan, and we have that course equivalent and the registrars approve it, then it’s good to go,” Ritz said.

“There is no set list of courses. It’s whatever we can fit on the DCP, and the registrars will help coordinate that.”

Johnson noted that Liberty’s goal of the dual-enrollment program is to get CVCC students connected to Liberty before they become full-time students.

Those enrolled in the program will be registered as part-time Liberty students and therefore will be able to use the Montview Student Union and Jerry Falwell Library and also have the option to attend Convocation.

“(Students) can come over and use them and start to feel more like a student at LU, and that is really the feel we’re going for,” Ritz said.

“It’s a cooperative thing between the two schools. We’ve got a great relationship with CVCC, and we want to strengthen it.”

The dual-enrollment program was originally introduced to Liberty by CVCC President John Capps.

Ritz noted Liberty’s proximity to CVCC and its ability to further promote the program were among the main reasons CVCC sparked interest in starting the dual-enrollment agreement.

In past years, CVCC has agreed to similar programs with neighboring colleges.

CVCC has been partnered with Lynchburg College since 2013 and Randolph College since 2015.

Depending on the interest level and success of the dual-enrollment program at Liberty, more spots may open for students in the future.

“We wanted to test the waters,” Ritz said.

“So 50 students gave us a nice healthy group to work with. It could evolve and improve even more after that, but we needed a place to start.”

In a joint press release, Liberty President Jerry Falwell said he believes the dual-enrollment partnership with CVCC will prove to not only benefit students but will also strengthen the relationship between Liberty and CVCC in the future.

“This agreement provides an excellent opportunity for current and future CVCC students to experience Liberty University while completing their associate degree at CVCC,” Falwell said in the news release.

“This is a continuation of our strong partnership with CVCC.”

Young is the news editor.

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