Concurrent enrollment had the University Center of Southern Oklahoma between a rock and a hard place, but additional funding from the state is expected to help the institution going into the fall semester. 

Concurrent and dual enrollment allows high school students to earn college credit before they graduate. Students can earn up to 15 credit hours over the course of their senior year and have their tuition waived, but until recently, the state department of education only reimbursed institutions for about 27 percent of the total. 

The center expected a reimbursement amount of about $72,537 initially, but the amount ended up at $90,017, $58,000 more than last year’s reimbursement of only $31,000. 

UCSO Interim CEO Peggy Maher said this hit the university center particularly hard compared to state universities.   

“They [the universities] were also losing some tuition too, because theirs is so high, but they were also getting something in fees,” Maher said. “We were getting none of that.” 

All of UCSO’s concurrent courses are through Murray State College. The UCSO board of trustees briefly considering introducing a fee on top of MSC’s, before the increased reimbursement went into effect.   

“They had talked about going to fees plus the tuition, but even if that were the case they didn’t want to do it until they could find a source of help or funding for students who couldn’t afford the fees,” Maher said. 

The state previously reimbursed only 27 percent of the tuition, but the number increased to 88 percent this year. $7.5 million in additional higher ed funding specifically went to concurrent enrollment tuition. 

“That was significant to us,” Maher said.

Murray State College had 671 concurrent students total, 406 of which were at UCSO. 

“Most of them are not from Ardmore City Schools, because they’ve been really emphasizing their [Advanced Placement] program,” Maher said. “So we’ve been getting them mainly from Plainview, but quite a few area schools have students enrolled here.” 

She said the concurrent enrollment program is also important for retaining students for the university center’s partners. 

“We’re hoping that they come here and see they can get a full degree here,” Maher said. “I feel, personally, that concurrent enrollment is a great way to get more students into college.”