Adkins talks benefits of dual enrollment through BSCC

By NICOLE SMITH Daily Mountain Eagle Dr. Jason Adkins, superintendent of Walker County Schools, said he wants parents and students to be aware of the benefits of dual enrollment in hopes of growing the program. In a conversation with the Daily Mountain Eagle Thursday, Adkins said a dual enrollment agreement between Bevill State Community College and the Walker County Board of Education has grown in popularity, and he wants even more students to take advantage of the option to start earning college credit in high school. “It gives them college credit, and at the same time gives them high school credit,” Adkins said. “More importantly, they’re getting it cheaper, and they’re getting better prepared once they actually get to college.” Kristy Swindle, the dual enrollment coordinator for Bevill State, said dual enrollment courses taught at a high school cost $128 per credit hour — $384 for a standard three-hour course. High school students who choose to take dual enrollment courses at Bevill State’s facilities or online pay the college’s standard tuition fee. Students at Carbon Hill, Oakman, Curry and Cordova have dual enrollment courses taught at their school campuses, while Dora students and those enrolled at Jasper High School take courses at either the Jasper or Sumiton campuses, due to their close proximity to the college. Swindle said nearly 100 students in Walker County and Jasper City school systems take dual enrollment courses. “If you can get through 25 percent of your four-year cost while you’re in high school, that means that you’re 25 percent out of the way academically toward your four-year degree, but it is also a big savings to the parents who are paying for it,” Adkins said. He said increasing the number of students who take advantage of dual enrollment is now more crucial than ever, considering the growth of Pre-K education in the county.

Furthermore, Adkins said with students now getting more educational opportunities on both ends of the spectrum, the school system plans to focus on more opportunities for middle school students. “There are some curriculum issues, definitely, at that level that we have to look at,” he said. Adkins said the school board does offer some dual enrollment scholarships, and he said the Walker College Foundation has assisted in providing textbooks to students that can result in saving an additional $200, according to Swindle. “There is a financing option that allows for the tuition and books to be financed up to four payments,” Swindle said. “Additionally, Bevill State has a Summer Honors scholarship program that students can apply for in the summer, which will assist in covering tuition for up to two courses.” Dual enrollment requirements include being in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade, a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher, a statement of eligibility with signatures, meeting college entrance and course requirements established by Bevill State and maintaining all policies stated by the Alabama Community College System. Swindle said students should speak with their high school counselors about applying for dual enrollment. “Counselors will work with the students to complete the dual enrollment application and determine their eligibility,” she said. “I am in the schools regularly and am always happy to provide an information/orientation session for parents and students. I realize this is a big step, and I am available to talk with anyone who may have questions about the dual enrollment and accelerated credit programs.” Adkins said he is proud of the opportunities offered to students through the Walker County Center of Technology as well, and he said there has never been such a cooperative, community driven effort formed between the county and city school systems, WCCT and Bevill State. “There’s this synergy of people really reaching out, because we all have this same goal in mind,” Adkins said. “We need to get the students involved in these programs and transform the process.” For more information of dual enrollment, Swindle can be reached at Bevill State by calling (205) 387-0511, ext. 5787. Bevill State also offers an accelerated credit program for juniors and seniors to take college-level courses. More information can be found at