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High School Ichabods

Concurrent enrollment lets high schoolers take college courses at half price

Students in CEP classes

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019

Visiting the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, or standing on the bridge in Selma, Alabama, where the Bloody Sunday attack happened, Mallory Lutz was on the kind of trip a history major on the verge of graduating college might be taking.

Instead, Lutz, ba ’18, was in her first year at Washburn. Thanks to participation during high school in the Concurrent Enrollment Partnership, Lutz entered Washburn with enough college credits to earn a degree in three years.

Mallory Lutz“I was able to come in my first year at Washburn and take 300 level history classes,” said the 2015 Shawnee Heights High School, Tecumseh, Kansas, graduate. “That opened the door to going to conferences earlier and presenting research earlier.”

CEP also allowed her to take the civil rights trip put on by Bruce Mactavish, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Connie Gibbons, director, Mulvane Art Museum.

“That was just so eye-opening for me because everything I learned and experienced on that trip I think about on a daily basis,” said Lutz, who’s now a park guide at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka.

CEP lets Kansas high school students take classes for college credits while challenging themselves academically and experiencing the rigor of college courses. CEP classes taken in Shawnee County high schools are administered by Washburn at half-price tuition. Washburn seeks qualified high school teachers who have 18 hours in the discipline with a master’s degree or are on a path to earn a master’s degree. Washburn faculty approve each course syllabus to make sure they are parallel to the ones on campus.

“For students, they’re starting college and developing a Washburn transcript that can carry forth,” Mactavish said. “They’re hopefully developing the habits that can help them be successful.”

The history classes gave Lutz her biggest boost.

“CEP teachers were able to push me and grade me through the lens of a college professor instead of a high school teacher,” Lutz said. “They said, ‘You’re going to be writing 10 to 20-page history papers. Let’s practice that now instead of waiting until college.’”

Her high school counselor, Laurie Crimmins, b ed ’87, said Shawnee Heights takes pride in the program and helping students excel into college.

“We know with good planning, students can map out a course of study and fulfill both high school and college requirements,” she said. “The best students are taking six or nine hours of concurrent enrollment classes a semester. I hope some of these kids see they can get 30-some hours in at Washburn. With a good ACT score and GPA, they can hopefully earn a scholarship and be done in three years.”

CEP also has advantages for students who are unsure if they will be able to succeed when they get to college.

“The rigor works well for the students,” Mactavish said. “They’re doing this with the safety net and support of their family, the high school and good high school teachers. They’re beginning that path toward college and earning a degree.”

For Washburn, the benefit is a chance to introduce students to life as an Ichabod and cultivate homegrown talent.

“We have made it a priority in our recruitment plan,” said Richard Liedtke, executive director, enrollment management, Washburn University. “It allows academically motivated students to take the next step in challenging themselves with a college-level curriculum and get a taste of what college classes are like. We have seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years, and I believe more families should take advantage of this opportunity.”

Students taking at least one CEP course through Washburn increased 53 percent in the last six years. Washburn enrolls more CEP students than all the Kansas Board of Regents schools combined. Topeka West High School Principal Dustin Dick said his CEP enrollment has doubled in his five years.

“This fall alone, I think Topeka West families saved $66,424 dollars in tuition by paying half price,” he said. “It’s a good thing for kids. It’s a good thing for families. Our teachers get an opportunity to really teach at a high level with kids who are interested in being pushed to a high level.”

CEP credit hours offered by Washburn total 6,081 this year, an increase of 56 percent from six years ago.

“Often families talk about the affordability of a college education,” Liedtke said. “With CEP classes being 50 percent of the undergraduate tuition rate, families can save several thousands of dollars. Students who take advantage of this program can earn enough credits while in high school to save a year's worth of tuition at half price and one year’s worth of room and board.”

Lutz earned enough scholarships in her three years to pay her tuition, live on campus for two years and have several experiences out of the classroom.

“It was so great to be able to have both the amazing academic experience and on-campus experiences I had,” she said. “I was on campus recently and I said, ‘This is my home away from home.’ I think that’s how I’ll always describe it.”

Spring 2020 Alumni Mag

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2019-20 spring edition online and look for it in mailboxes in May.

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483