Helping Students get a Jump Start on College

Published: December 22, 2016

A large-scale effort to help high school students get a jump start on earning college credits continues to show great success. College of Western Idaho (CWI) recently helped 34 students from Caldwell High School collectively earn 464 credits through College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing at Boise State University.

CWI’s Dual Credit team has spent the past year helping Spanish-speaking high school students earn college credit through native language skills testing. Students who successfully pass CLEP testing can earn between 8 and 16 credits. The credits they earn are kept in a national database for up to 20 years, and can be transferred to a student’s institution of choice when they are ready to go to college.

“This is the second time I have brought students (to Boise State) for testing,” Claudia Beltran, the Spanish teacher at Caldwell High School, said. “This time, we have really concentrated our efforts on bringing students here who can really use the credits.”

Prior to this round of testing, CWI received a grant to facilitate the roughly $150 per-student cost associated with CLEP testing. The State of Idaho now financially backs the effort through Fast Forward funding; which is part of the effort to increase the state’s 60 percent ‘go on’ rate. CWI coordinates the testing and covers the transcription fees for students. Boise State provides students with lunch and campus tours while Caldwell School District covers transportation costs. There are no out-of-pocket costs for students.

For high school seniors like Kassandra Peralta and Darwin Lozano, who each earned the maximum 16 credits on this day, the opportunity can be life changing.

“I am the first person in my family who will graduate from high school and attend college,” Lozano, who is interested in being a congressman or possibly even a president someday, said. “I took a dual credit history class through CWI last year so this has been an interesting experience for me.”

“This will definitely make it easier for me to go through college without as many financial challenges,” Peralta, who has yet to choose between psychology and computer science, said.

To date, CWI’s Dual Credit team has helped Treasure Valley high school students earn 3,049 college credits through CLEP testing.

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