Polk’s high school students receive thousands in college credits

Published 11:30 pm Thursday, October 16, 2014

Claire Sachse


Polk County’s high school students, both at the Polk County Early College and at Polk County High School, are receiving the equivalent of between $88,000 and $584,000 worth of tuition-free college credits this fall semester, according to a report presented by Tabitha Bailey, college liaison for Polk County Schools, to the board of education Monday night.

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This fall semester, 339 students are taking college courses through Isothermal Community College. Of those, 118 study online, 14 commute to ICC in Spindale, and 207 take courses on site at PCEC or PCHS. The value of these courses equates to $87,970 when taken at ICC, or $583,483 if they were taken through an in-state, public university.

Courses that are available to students this academic year include biology, criminal justice, English, physics, history, computer information systems and physical education. Bailey reported that psychology, communications/public speaking and another level of English are in the plans to add in the future.

Not only do Polk County students receive the benefits of earning tuition-free college credits while in high school, they are also outperforming the average ICC student, said Bailey.

According to the report, in the 2013-2014 academic year, Polk’s students enjoyed a 92 percent success rate (defined as a grade of C or higher) for on site classes, 83 percent for online classes, and 68 percent for Spindale-commuting students.

“This is my chance to brag on our Polk kids,” said Bailey who added that ICC’s success rate is 75 percent.

Bill Miller, superintendent of education, told the board that partnerships are in the early stages of development with ICC and Tryon International Equestrian Resort that will bring another level of course programming to the school system, including entrepreneurship degrees, and equine and agribusiness courses.