The first big leap in Hannibal High School's (HHS) Dual Credit program is poised to offer classes during summer for the first time, preparing more students for the college experience while they receive higher-education credits at a reduced rate.

The first big leap in Hannibal High School’s (HHS) Dual Credit program is poised to offer classes during summer for the first time, preparing more students for the college experience while they receive higher-education credits at a reduced rate.

Assistant Superintendent Darin Powell said college dual-credit courses have been available for about 15 years to seniors, but this is the first time the opportunity has opened up for juniors. And for the first time, summer and online courses are offered through partnerships with Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU) and Moberly Area Community College (MACC), at a rate of rate of $70 to $80 per credit hour — compared to figures that can range from $300 to $1,200 per credit hour in a traditional college setting, Powell said.

He said the new online classes offer a great way to prepare for online classes and assignments in college, and juniors can earn between 24 to 36 college credits before they graduate from HHS — stretching parents’ college budgets and allowing students the chance to complete general education requirements before pursuing studies tied to their chosen major. Powell said he anticipated seeing more students graduating from college in three years, coupled with the potential for more students to pursue advanced degrees due to increased financial opportunity.

“It’s a win-win for everyone involved,” he said.

At Hannibal-LaGrange University, officials said they are excited to offer expanded summer courses — providing several benefits to high school students who enroll.

“Students who take advantage of our summer online course receive the benefit of focusing on one or two classes at a time versus taking them along with their high school course load,” said Kayla McBride, Assistant Director of Graduate and Online Programs. “The courses are offered in an eight-week format allowing the student to earn college credit in a shorter amount of time.”

Carolyn Carpenter, Director of Public Relations, said the new course format can help students and their parents through an often hectic chapter in their lives.

“We truly enjoy the opportunity to offer college courses to area high school juniors and seniors,” she said. “We are thankful so many have taken advantage of the summer online classes. Getting a few classes knocked out during the summer definitely helps ease the stress on the student and possibly the parents as well.”

Powell encouraged parents to contact the Hannibal High School Booster Club if they need financial assistance. Scholarships are available, and HHS Guidance Director JoAnn McCollum said a couple students used the scholarships this summer.

On Friday, June 23, Junior Alec Mundle logged onto a desktop computer at HHS, preparing for an upcoming mid-term exam in front of his College Algebra professor at HLGU. He said he planned to enter the medical field and he looked forward to the chance to get a jump on general education credits amid a lengthy course of study. The online experience is new for Mundle, but he said he enjoys the format.

“So far, it’s been nice to work at my own pace and not be rushed, or I can speed up when I’m going through parts I already know,” he said. He said he plans on taking another online course next year.

Senior Grace McIntosh was also taking her first Dual Credit course online through MACC — American History to 1865. So far, McIntosh is about half-way through. She said Professor Kristine Zauke regularly keeps in contact with her regarding the calendar of assignments and providing feedback. She happily noted that Zauke rescheduled her mid-term exam so she could attend a summer camp. McIntosh said the online layout gives her greater access to the textbook and related information.

“I feel like I learn knowledge more easily, just because I have an actual online book to read. We have books in history class in school, but sometimes when you’re lecturing students, they don’t get the full experience — they don’t get all the information,” she said. “With it being online, I can see everything, and I can go back and check things and use it when I’m writing my responses.”

McCollum said she felt excited about these new educational opportunities for a high school students who are focused on success.

“We really have good kids here, and it’s great that they can take these classes and have these opportunities to compete with others,” she said.

To find out more about dual-credit course offerings through HLGU and MACC or financial assistance opportunities, please visit the Hannibal High School webpage at https://sites.google.com/a/district.hannibal.k12.mo.us/hannibal-high-school-athletic-booster-club/ , or call Powell at 221-1258 or McCollum at 573-221-2733 Ext. 2168. The Booster Club’s website is https://sites.google.com/a/district.hannibal.k12.mo.us/hannibal-high-school-athletic-booster-club/ .

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com