- Acadeum, an online course-sharing platform for higher education institutions, announced this week it's launching a new dual-enrollment offering that will provide more than 500 college-level classes to eligible high school students.
- The program will initially be open only to students at K12 Private Academy, a private online college preparatory school. Four colleges are providing the courses: Baker College in Michigan and Franklin University in Ohio, which are both private nonprofits, Western Texas College, a two-year public school, and Strayer University, a for-profit college.
- The company bills the move as a way to provide more opportunities for high school students to earn college credit and to help them avoid debt.
Acadeum made its name by providing a platform for colleges to form course-sharing consortia. More than 380 colleges use its services, which participating schools say help fill their course sections and let students take classes not offered on their home campuses.
The company's new initiative brings its course-sharing services to high school students, who are already enrolled and are taking courses this fall.
"For too many high school students, especially those who are the most disadvantaged, opportunities for college-level coursework are severely limited," Lesa Louch, president of online at Baker College, said in a statement.
To be eligible, students must at least be juniors and have a 3.0 GPA. However, "exceptional" high school students in lower grades may be able to participate, Nathan Green, Acadeum's co-founder and chief development officer, said in an emailed statement.
Acadeum selected K12 Private Academy to pilot the program because its students have experience with online education and many are headed to college. "Their students and families will get the greatest return on this investment," Green said.
The company is aiming to enroll more than 200 students across K12 Private Academy in the program this year. At the private academy, students' families pay for their courses as part of their tuition, but state funding may be used to cover the cost as the program expands to other high schools. Acadeum expects the program to expand to select states through public districts next academic year, Green said.
Participating colleges were selected for "their competitive programs and success" in dual-enrollment initiatives, Green said. Franklin University, for instance, has created pathways for high school students letting them earn around 30 credit hours online that can be transferred to an associate or bachelor's degree in a high-demand field.
Acadeum is looking to create a similar program next year with its new dual-enrollment initiative. Starting in the fall of 2022, high school sophomores will be able to pursue 20 associate degree pathways in "high-growth careers," including computer science and cybersecurity, according to the announcement.