College Credit While in High School: College Credit Plus Program
Is your student not in Ohio? Your state likely offers something very similar to Ohio’s program. Be sure to ask your school counselor for your state’s program details.
Each year, all school districts in Ohio hold informational meetings about College Credit Plus (CCP). (These meetings must be completed prior to February 1st each year. Be on the lookout for information from your child’s district on the meeting details. The meeting may be virtual or even a recorded presentation.)
CCP allows qualifying Ohio students to earn college and high school credit at the same time. College Credit Plus may be a great way for your student to earn up to 120 college credits during the high school years.
CCP launched in the 2015/16 school year. It replaced the old “Postsecondary Enrollment Option.” Students in grades 7-12 are eligible. Students must qualify to participate, and if they do, families bear no additional fees for tuition, books, etc., if the student passes the class.
Qualification is met by showing a student is ready for college-level classes by having a remediation-free ACT/SAT score or earning a unweighted high school GPA over 3.0. (Click here for more details about eligibility changes enacted in February 2022.) For the ACT, the remediation-free score numbers are 18 on English, 22 on reading, and 22 on math. Some colleges have a participation benchmark higher than these numbers. Be sure to check those details for any college of interest to your student.
Who should participate?
- Able to self-advocate, motivated, and mature
- Academically strong
- Students who want to explore academic areas not available in their high school
- Students with time to devote to the college coursework (for every hour in a college class, plan for two to three outside of class)
When considering college, what is the best preparation for the student — AP/IB/College Credit Plus/Honor classes?
The short answer is the most rigorous college-prep program that is appropriate for YOUR student. Choose the path with the most reasonable expectation of success with a healthy challenge level. If at each turn the student chooses the easier path to “protect” his/her GPA, this is a concern to college admissions representatives. Colleges look at not only how well the student did but also how much they pushed themselves in a reasonable way.
For some colleges, AP and IB coursework is preferred over CCP because it is a known quantity to them. Within Ohio, public colleges are fairly familiar with the CCP courses offered.
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What colleges are included in the program?
All of the public colleges in Ohio, including regional campuses must participate. Online courses are included in the program, and some school districts offer CCP classes inside their high schools. Summer coursework can also be included; however, most college summer semesters start in May and may not fit a student’s high school calendar.
What does “dual enrollment” mean?
When participating in CCP, the student is “dually enrolled” in their regular high school AND in the college. The student must apply to the college, but the application process is NOT the same as a matriculating student whose application and credentials are considered in a very different way.
Grades earned at the college within CCP count dually for college credit and for a corresponding high school credit. Courses are typically weighted the same as AP/IB classes on the high school transcript. (For example, an “A” will earn a 5.0 instead of the 4.0 earned for an unweighted “A.”)
Your guidance counselor can show you how to apply. Typically, a student has to complete a form in the springtime to indicate their interest in the program. Most colleges have links (to apply and for more information) specifically for CCP students. Here’s an example from Columbus State.
Each student may earn as many as 30 credit hours per year. A student cannot be more than full-time. A full-time college course load is 15 credits per semester. Usually, a student will take a few college classes and spend the remainder of their day back in the high school setting. However, a student can take all classes in a college setting.
What are the requirements to participate?
Besides the remediation-free test scores or GPA mentioned above, all participating families receive some form of counseling prior to indicating their intent to participate. For families that could not attend an information session, an excellent option is to schedule an appointment for this counseling with your high school counselor.
Students must notify their school counselor of their plan to participate by April 1st each year. This notification is not a commitment, but it is a required indication that you intend to participate. Your school district will supply you with a letter of intent form.
What about homeschooled and non-public school students?
Homeschool families can find information here. Non-public school students check with your school to determine the process to follow (some details here). For both homeschool and non-public school students the process to follow is VERY date/deadline-driven. Be sure to fill out every line on the applications for funding. Homeschool families should note they will have to pay for course textbooks. (Public school students get their textbooks at no additional cost.)
Families who could use some help planning high school coursework, knowing which options are best for their child, can take advantage of our one-on-one Private Consultation service. A great value for peace of mind!
Are there any risks to participating in the program?
- If the student fails or drops out past the deadline, the school can charge back/recoup the cost of the class.
- The coursework is more rigorous.
- No transportation is provided.
- The credits earned may not transfer to another institution. (see more detail below)
- Because the coursework is rigorous, if the student does poorly, the grade can impact the high school GPA and may in turn impact the student’s chances of receiving academic merit scholarships when they apply to college.
What about transferring credits to college?
The ability to transfer earned credits is a key piece of information to consider when looking at colleges. If your goal is to amass as many college credits during high school as possible, you need to find institutions that will accept those earned credits.
Credits earned through CCP may not transfer, but they may transfer too! Many entry-level courses earned via CCP are guaranteed to transfer to any other public college in Ohio.
When you compare CCP to AP in terms of credit transfer, you should think of them differently. AP courses offer potential college credit (versus the banked, transcripted college credits earned during CCP). Eligibility for college credit earned by AP coursework depends on the test score earned at the end of the class and the college’s policy toward those AP classes. All colleges define their AP transfer program differently. Often, more elite colleges will be less willing to accept ANY transferred credits – they want students to take their version of the class.
To check the transfer policy of Ohio public colleges, use this website (also lets you check AP transfer policies). Another good resource to start with is www.transferology.com, but the actual college websites are best. Larger universities usually have a “credit transfer” tool to show you exactly how class credits will or won’t transfer in.
What classes can students take?
Students can take any class for which they have met the prerequisites. However, some courses are not eligible. Examples include one-on-one instruction, courses with high fees ($750 or more), study abroad, PE courses, remedial courses, pass/fail courses, or sectarian religion courses. Be sure to consider courses which will be of value towards your ultimate college degree.
Does CCP affect athletic eligibility?
Ohio student athletes must follow the bylaws of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) which includes passing five one-credit courses per grading period. For more specific questions, contact your school’s Athletic Director.
Final Thoughts on College Credit Plus
If your student is academically ready for college coursework, CCP may be a good option for your family. CCP students at schools like Columbus State have access to the helpful tools all CSCC students have – tutors, writing lab, counseling, disability services, etc. AP college credit rests on a student’s performance on a final exam. CCP college credit is earned across a semester, which may be a better fit for your student.
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