State Higher Ed Commission partners with University of Indianapolis, INvestEd to help Indiana dual credit teachers get credentials

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Commission for Higher Education

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Ensuring Indiana high school teachers are equipped and qualified to teach dual credit courses is the primary goal of a new partnership between the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, INvestEd and the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis, called Teach Dual Credit Indiana. Dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time—preparing them for college and saving them time and money when they get there.

Beginning September 1, 2023, high school educators who teach dual credit courses are required to have a master’s degree and at least 18 credit hours of instruction in the subject they teach. The credentialing rules were put into place by regional college accreditor Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Earlier this year, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers requested and received an additional one-year extension from HLC for Indiana teachers to meet these requirements.

INvestEd, a statewide nonprofit, is providing a $3 million grant for Hoosier teachers to receive the necessary credit hours, up to 18 in total. The grant could fully qualify between 200 and 700 teachers, depending on how many credits teachers take. There are currently more than 560 Indiana teachers who have master’s degrees but lack the 18 hours.

CELL is encouraging postsecondary institutions to submit proposals to offer courses through Teach Dual Credit Indiana. Tuition for courses, along with books and materials, will be provided at no cost to dual credit teachers employed at Indiana public schools, including charter schools and accredited private schools. Courses will be offered in the winter, spring and summer 2021 and may be offered in an online, hybrid or in-person delivery method.

Teachers with a master’s degree can learn more about how to access grant funds and postsecondary institutions can review and submit the Request for Proposal by visiting TeachDualCredit.org.

“This partnership is making it possible for Indiana’s dual credit teachers—at no cost to them—to earn the necessary graduate credit hours to be fully credentialed to teach dual credit courses to Hoosier students,” Lubbers said. “Indiana has previously been recognized for instructor eligibility and quality by the HLC, but our dual credit teachers are required to meet these rules and having done so successfully will fortify Indiana’s dual credit instruction.”

INvestEd has provided free financial aid literacy outreach to Indiana families for 40 years.

“For years, INvestEd’s financial aid literacy presentations have stressed the value of dual credit coursework to all Hoosiers in terms of future academic success and tuition savings,” said Joe Wood, president and CEO of INvestEd. “These free, rigorous courses provide a head start toward graduating. That’s why INvestEd was so eager to support this credentialing program for Indiana’s essential dual credit educators.”

Dual credit courses are also a proven method to address affordability and equity issues for students who are pursuing higher education.

“Students who earn dual credit perform significantly better in a number of important metrics, including college-going rates, freshman grade point average and credit hours completed. Students who have the opportunity to earn dual credit are more likely to graduate college on time and to graduate at all,” Lubbers said. “This is also an important effort to close the state’s educational achievement gaps, as these gains make an impact across race and ethnicity, as well as socioeconomic status.”

Liberal arts, foreign language instruction available

The state and other partners have invested in ongoing credentialing efforts for teachers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields previously, through the state’s investment of more than $10 million in STEM dual credit teacher credentialing and CELL’s STEM Teach initiative. As it did with STEM Teach, CELL will administer the Teach Dual Credit Indiana program for those teaching dual credit liberal arts courses.

“Ensuring student success in postsecondary endeavors, particularly when those are collegiate aspirations, has been central to our Early College and STEM Teach work. With the looming shortage of qualified teachers to deliver dual credit course work in Indiana’s K-12 schools – Teach Dual Credit Indiana is desperately needed,” said Carey Dahncke, executive director of the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL). “Soon teachers across the state will have access to graduate education opportunities at a wide range of Hoosier universities, to ensure we have enough secondary teachers that meet the Higher Learning Commission’s requirements for teaching dual credit courses in Indiana’s high schools.”

The Commission estimates dual credit completion saves Hoosier students $69 million in postsecondary tuition and fees annually. One-third of students who complete dual credit in Indiana are from low-income households.

“We look forward to continuing to serve teachers and schools so that they can provide ample dual credit opportunities to high school students. In the end, this results in making the transition to college easier and more affordable for students as they earn college credits while still enrolled in high school,” said Trish Wlodarczyk, director of strategic initiatives, STEM Teach IV, CELL. 

The Commission, CELL and INvestEd will promote the program and reach out to teachers and school administrators throughout the state to let teachers know to enroll. For more information, visit TeachDualCredit.org.