Boise State University Concurrent Enrollment is proud to celebrate 56 local students who graduated with their associate degree and 34 students who completed the “sophomore start” concurrent enrollment option.
Boise State’s Concurrent Enrollment program has provided Treasure Valley students the opportunity to take college courses while in high school for the last 23 years. Concurrent enrollment courses prepare high school students with the skills and academic readiness they need for a more seamless transition to college.
While earning these college credits, high school students pay the concurrent enrollment rate of $75 per credit instead of the on-campus rate of $367 per credit. Concurrent enrollment students attending a public Idaho high school also have access to Fast Forward funding through the State Department of Education’s “advanced opportunities” program. This funding provides $4,125 to eligible Idaho students to help pay for opportunities like concurrent enrollment.
Last year, high school students across Idaho completed over 30,000 university credit hours through Boise State Concurrent Enrollment.
Concurrent enrollment associate degree and sophomore start
While some students choose to enroll in a small number of concurrent enrollment courses, they also have the opportunity to enroll in an associate degree option or the sophomore start option. Established in 2015, the sophomore start and associate degree options provide students the opportunity to achieve a significant college milestone before graduating high school.
Students enrolled in the sophomore start option complete 30 college credits before graduating high school. Sophomore start allows students to start college at the sophomore level, completing their college freshman year while in high school. However, most students participating in the program option go beyond the requirement, completing an average of 42 credits.
The associate degree option allows students to graduate from high school with an accredited associate degree, complete a minimum of 60 college credits, and meet all Idaho general education requirements. Boise State offers an associate degree in arts and science, which provides an academic foundation for a future major. Currently, this program option is available at Eagle and Rocky Mountain High Schools in the West Ada School District.
In both programs, students work closely with their concurrent enrollment advisor to create a degree plan based on their personal goals and degree interests to make intentional course selections.
Many students complete their credits with minimal or no out-of-pocket costs through the use of Fast Forward funds. On average, students who have completed Boise State’s Concurrent Enrollment associate degree option pay between $500-700 out-of-pocket for all 60 credits, a savings of over $20,000 thanks to the Fast Forward and Advanced Opportunity funding through the State of Idaho.
For spring 2021, Boise State’s Concurrent Enrollment celebrates 56 students graduating with both their high school diploma and associate degree, an increase of 37 students over the year before. An additional 34 students completed the sophomore start option.
These driven individuals have hit their first collegiate milestone while simultaneously finishing high school. The 90 students who completed Boise State’s Concurrent Enrollment associate degree or sophomore start programs are from the following high schools in the Treasure Valley
- Centennial High School
- Columbia High School
- Eagle High School
- Meridian High School
- Mountain View High School
- Rocky Mountain High School
- Skyview High School
- Borah High School
- Kuna High School
With a jump-start to a 4-year bachelor’s degree, these students have opportunities they might not have otherwise — from undergraduate research opportunities to studying abroad to graduating from college early, access to resources, and major and career exploration.
Collaboration, innovation and student success
Concurrent Enrollment aims to provide opportunities to all high school students but makes it their mission to improve access to students who think college is out of reach. With the sophomore start or associate degree programs, students who may not have pursued a college degree have support to explore higher education.
An additional bonus of completing college credits or an associate degree is that students can see their success before their high school graduation, giving them the confidence to continue on their journey toward their goals.
“I like to be able to help students reach their goals – helping them understand that they can do it,” says Karina Smith, assistant director of Concurrent Enrollment at Boise State. “Some students don’t see themselves as being able to access college, so showing them that ‘yes, they can’ is powerful.”
The success of concurrent enrollment students requires collaboration between Boise State Concurrent Enrollment, high schools and parents or guardians to form a support system for students. Parents and guardians provide gentle nudges and daily encouragement and support as their children work to achieve their advanced educational goals.
Collaboration with parents or guardians and high schools makes both the associate degree and the sophomore start option achievable for Idaho students. College and career counselors within high schools are essential to helping students succeed. In the associate degree option, Rae Peppley at Rocky Mountain High School and Anna Bemis at Eagle High School ensure students are connected to Boise State and have support in their high school so they can reach their goals.