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Press Release



May 16, 2016


Cowley College selected for High School: Pell ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program


Cowley College was recently selected one of only 44 postsecondary institutions across 23 states, and the only college in Kansas and Oklahoma invited to participate in a pilot program that – for the first time – allows students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school.


As part of this pilot program, an estimated 10,000 high school students in the 2016-17 school year will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in Federal Pell Grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation.


“Today is an historic day in the work of Cowley College,” Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle said. “As an institution deeply invested into promoting student access at the most affordable rates, whether face-to-face, online, or hybrid, Cowley College eagerly looks forward to increasing the access of college coursework to high school students. A special thanks to the employees of Cowley College: associate vice president of academics and secondary partnerships Janice Stover, executive director of enrollment management Josh Cobble, and director of financial aid Sally Palmer, for spearheading this exciting opportunity which will redefine student success and student expectations for high school students while dually enrolled at Cowley College.”


By allowing students to take college courses for credit, the dual enrollment pilot builds on President Obama’s efforts to make higher education more affordable and to support community colleges to ensure they are gateways to economic prosperity and educational opportunities for American families.


“Dual enrollment programs are powerful ways to introduce rigorous coursework to students and show these students that they are smart enough, talented enough, and prepared enough to tackle higher education. Dual enrollment programs are game changers for all students – especially those are first-generation or from low-income families,” said Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. “Through this experiment, we hope to learn how the availability of Pell Grants affects student participation and success in dual enrollment programs.”

In the 2010-2011 school year, more than 1.4 million high school students took courses offered by a college or university for credit through dual enrollment. Research suggests that participation in dual enrollment can lead to better grades in high school, increased enrollment in college following high school, higher rates of persistence in college, greater credit accumulation, and increased rates of credential attainment.


While dual enrollment models have shown promising academic outcomes for students, cost can be a barrier: at nearly half of institutions with dual enrollment programs, most students pay out of pocket


“We are very excited to be selected to participate in this program,” Janice Stover said. “Cowley College has had a long-standing relationship with our area partner high schools in providing dual enrollment opportunities to students. Having an opportunity for financial assistance will provide even more access for students to get an early start on their college education, who otherwise might have seen cost as a barrier to enrollment. We look forward to expanding the dual enrollment program for high school students.”


Many of the institutions invited to participate in this experiment proposed dual enrollment arrangements that share some key features designed to make students successful in college and career. Some of these features include: academic preparation and credit accumulation, advising and other support services, pathways to further their studies, and providing a teaching foundation for STEM and alignment with workforce needs.


According to Sally Palmer, Cowley College’s director of financial aid, over the past four years the school has awarded an average of $6,754,760 in Pell Grant funding to 1,994 students each year. Never before has Cowley been able to offer any of that funding to a high school student taking college courses.


“This experimental program is a great opportunity for those high school students eager to pursue a college degree but limited on resources,” Palmer said. “We are excited to be able to help them navigate the financial aid process and get their college career started early.”


Cowley College, which has been recognized as one of the top community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, offers more than 80 programs of study and is authorized for online courses in all 50 states.


“We have a proud reputation of providing a quality, educational experience to students at all of our locations including online,” Josh Cobble said. “This gives more high school students the financial resources to get started in one of our 80 plus academic programs. We will be here to support them as they begin the next steps of their journey with us.”


The program is anticipated to run for at least three years.


For more information on Cowley College’s ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program go to or email