School Board approves dual enrollment agreement with UF

Pinellas County School Board Chair Rene Flowers praises the new opportunity students have for dual enrollment with the University of Florida. The board unanimously approved an agreement with UF at its meeting on June 11.

LARGO — Amid praise for an exciting new opportunity for students, the Pinellas County School Board unanimously approved a dual enrollment agreement with the University of Florida Board of Trustees on June 11.

School Superintendent Michael Grego touted the expansion of the district’s “very rich” dual enrollment to include universities. The district currently offers academic and career dual enrollment through St. Petersburg College and Pinellas Technical College.

Associate Superintendent Kevin Hendrick said 8,000 of the district’s students took advanced placement courses last year and 2,300 participated in the dual enrollment program. He said the new agreement would provide a third opportunity for eligible students and the first with a state university.

Students will be able to take up to two courses per semester, up to 11 credit hours, for two academic years offered through the UF online platform.

Juniors and seniors with a grade point average of at least 3.6 that qualify via testing will be eligible to participate. Hendrick said approximately 1,600 high school students could qualify now.

To remain eligible, students must maintain a 3.6 GPA at their school in Pinellas and a 3.0 GPA with UF.

The courses will be available online. The district will pay for tuition and cost of instructional materials. The cost for a three-credit course enrollment is $447.72 plus an average of less than $40 for instructional materials. The district also will provide computers and equipment, as well as internet access if needed.

Students will be able to apply this fall and begin classes in January 2020.

Pinellas will be the 11th school district in the state to partner with UF for dual enrollment.

Grego said the new agreement is part of a larger group of “elevating excellence” activities designed to give students an advantage in the post-secondary world.

Courses completed will become part of the student’s college transcript and should be transferable to other universities throughout the United States. Grego pointed out that not all courses taken at community colleges or two-year schools are transferable to universities.

Grego also said this was just the beginning of an effort to get agreements for dual enrollments with other universities, including the University of South Florida and others.

“This is an absolutely wonderful opportunity for our students to get into a prestigious university that is difficult to get into,” said School Board Chair Rene Flowers, adding that the ability for students to take courses while still in high school without cost would help families financially.

“I’m excited about the opportunities for our students,” she said.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.