Dual credit courses are an integral part of the curriculum at Mason High School and have been since the 2000-2001 school year. These courses satisfy both high school curriculum requirements and college core curriculum requirements. Students are able to transfer those credits to any college or university in the state of Texas as well as many out of state schools. Mason High School’s program began with an offering of six hours of dual credit history courses for a very small fee. This year we are offering 53 dual credit hours in English, Spanish, History, Government, Art, Algebra, Anatomy & Physiology and Biology with most of the instruction delivered by our own teachers on the MHS campus.
Since then, tuition has increased every semester. The cost of a three credit hour course is now $246. MHS students and families will pay more than $98,900 in tuition during the 2013-2014 school year. We have so many students who are dedicated to pursuing an education. In fact, 58% of the juniors and seniors at MHS take dual credit courses. Many students take more than one course, so the total bill adds up fast. Unfortunately, dual credit students do not qualify for federal financial aid or student loans. More than 54% of MHS students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and this is too big a financial burden for many families.
As MHS began to offer more courses and encourage more students to take advantage of those courses, they realized more students were encountering financial problems. Add to that the additional pressure created by Central Texas College, our dual credit course provider, which continues to raise tuition rates annually. At first, these problems were taken care of by a generous administration and faculty. However, several years ago, it became apparent that they were not equipped to handle the need.
The Mason County Child Welfare Board (MCCWB) stepped in to help relieve some of the burden when we instituted our tuition reimbursement program in which the MCCWB pays half the amount of a qualifying student’s tuition up front, and the student pays the other half. The first year, the MCCWB paid around $2,000 in tuition per semester. Last week, MCCWB treasurer Amanda McMillan just wrote the fall semester tuition check for over $6,000.
The Mason County Child Welfare Board is committed to continuing to offer the dual credit tuition assistance program, and we need your help. Your tax deductible donation can ensure that Mason County high school students are able to take advantage of the dual credit courses while still in high school, putting them well on their way to a degree. If you’d like to include this program in your annual giving, you can send a check to MCCWB PO Box 475 Mason, Texas 76856. Please make sure to write “Tuition” in the memo line.
Member, Mason County Child Welfare Board