The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 3, 2014

Local colleges offer an abundance of options



St. Francis

St. Francis University in Loretto has grown its College in High School program dramatically in recent years.

“About three years ago, we did some promotional mailings to high schools, and we saw a major increase in numbers,” said Julie A. Barris, associate dean and director of adult degree and continuing studies at St. Francis.

The College in High School program grew from 17 schools in 2010 to 44. The program has the potential to keep growing but not at that rate, Barris said.

“It seems that every year we get a new school and then current schools who want to add new courses.”

St. Francis’ program, which has been in existence for more than 15 years, serves many schools in the Johnstown area and the credits are transferable.

Taking the courses in high school costs $55 a credit compared with the university’s traditional student tuition rate, which can cost thousands of dollars for up to 18 credits.


Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been working to increase the number of high school students to which it offers college classes.

The school had contracts with 20 high schools in January 2013 but now has about 44, said Kristen O’Hara, director of adult and continuing education at IUP.

Locally, IUP teaches students at Greater Johnstown, Westmont Hilltop, Turkeyfoot Valley and Berlin Brothersvalley.

About 125 high school students are enrolled in the courses, she said.

“We’re looking to increase enrollment,” she said.

IUP offers a 75 percent discount off the tuition for high school students.

The courses are taught only by the IUP faculty online or at IUP campuses in Indiana, Punxsutawney and Freeport, Armstrong County. That’s beneficial for the students because the teachers do not know they are teaching a high school student, O’Hara said.


Allegany College of Maryland has been a partner with high schools since 1992.

The college’s Early College program is a benefit to high school students as they begin their college careers while still in high school, said David M. Hinds, the college’s vice president of instructional affairs.

“Research clearly shows the link between programs like ours and students’ likelihood of successfully continuing their education after graduation,” Hinds said.

In the fall of 2013, the college, which is based in Cumberland, Maryland, and has campuses in Somerset and Everett, saw 464 students from 22 schools in Somerset, Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania and Allegany County in Maryland.

ACM’s college courses are offered to high school students in a variety of formats. One way is having college faculty go to high schools. Another is having the courses be taught by qualified high school teachers. Students also can attend classes on one of the three college campuses or take classes online.

The college offers high school students a 50 percent reduction on tuition.

Barb Zuchelli, dean of Early College and Pennsylvania Curriculum Development, said students taking the Early College courses can transfer their credits to other schools.

“It’s a great opportunity for high school students to get a jump start on their college careers,” she said.

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