Students at Woodland High School can receive financial assistance to take advanced courses which earn college credits thanks to a $10,000 grant the school received from Washington State. Woodland High School Principal John Shoup applied to Washington State to receive the funding from the Dual Credit Expansion Grant in order to offer financial assistance to students taking advanced courses called dual-credit classes which offer both high school and college credit.

Currently, the high school offers seven different dual-credit courses including Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, AP Calculus, AP Government, AP Literature, AP United States History, and Pre-Calculus. The school plans to add an eighth course, AP Composition, beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

Woodland High School partners with community colleges and state universities to make earning college credit an opportunity for students. “Students can earn college credit through Central Washington University and the Lower Columbia Community College by taking these advanced courses,” explained Shoup. “A student at Woodland High School can earn up to 60 college credits without ever having to leave the school.”

Without financial assistance, students pay $50 per college credit at high school instead of paying up to $750 or more to receive the same credit at college. “Our goal is to increase the number of participating students by offering them a variety of options to receive financial assistance to pay for those credits,” said Shoup. “Thanks to the grant, students this semester can receive between 30%-50% in financial aid to pay for college credit depending on their need.” In order to receive assistance, students fill out a simple form to apply.

In Jennifer Cullison’s AP Biology class, students perform a variety of advanced experiments including analyzing their own DNA genomes by swabbing the inside of their mouths and then running those samples through a variety of tests. “Thanks to the construction of the new high school, we now have a full lab with new equipment which makes experiments like these possible,” said Cullison.

Students greatly appreciate the opportunity to receive college credit with many students taking advantage of working their way through college while still at high school. “I’m taking four dual-credit courses this year, and the grant is helping offset the cost of receiving the college credit,” said Dalila Zamora, a senior in Cullison’s AP Biology course. “Receiving college credit will make it so I can get a head-start when I go to university this fall.”

Kaitlyn Cochran, a senior and classmate of Zamora’s, is taking five classes for college credit. “The classes are run like a college classroom and I like the extra challenge they offer,” said Cochran. “Taking dual-credit courses over the last two years has given me an entire year’s worth of college education, saving me a lot of money and time.”

The grant funds cover classes for the current semester, however Shoup is hoping to continue to offer financial aid to students, “We’re hoping there will be additional grants for future semesters so we can continue helping our students pay for their college credit.”