Dual enrollment funding cuts may impact low-income, rural areas hardest

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia lawmakers want to cut funding for the state’s dual enrollment program. The program allows high school students to take state-funded college courses.

Teachers say cutting funds will lessen equal opportunities for students.

Culinary, banking, and CNA are some of the college courses high school students can take.

Jawaun Jordan is a senior at Westsde High. He credits the dual enrollment program for his receiving certifications for CNA and CPR. 

Jordan is also finishing his EMT certification while working full-time at a nursing home.

What does Georgia House Bill 444 do?

Georgia House Bill 444 would cut dual enrollment funding. The bill limits the number of college credits students can take to 30 hours. 

Currently, 9th through 12th-grade students can enroll in the program. Cost cuts will limit courses to just 11th and 12th graders.

Lawmakers say over the years, more students have entered the program. This makes it more expensive for the state to fund.

“It’s going to take a good amount away from them because they won’t get the same experience that I had in order to be ready and get college and career ready,” Jordan said.

Dr. Cassandra Washington with Hutchings College and Career Academy says if passed, the bill will create problems.

“My major concern comes when you’re trying to prepare the workforce for some kids that want to leave high school and go directly to work,” she said.

Washington agrees. She says to sustain the program, lawmakers need to look at the budget. However, this change may hit low-income and rural areas the hardest.

“What we need to do is make sure that we don’t close the gap again between our minority students,” Washington said. “Giving all students the opportunity to have exposure to college and giving them the credits that they need once they need.”

The House and Senate passed House Bill 444.  If Governor Kemp signs the bill, it will take effect next school year.