Bullock stresses dual enrollment at national education forum

The number of Montana high school students taking college courses has increase nearly 130 percent over the past five years, growing the state’s efforts to cut the cost of higher education and improve student readiness.

Gov. Steve Bullock this week highlighted Montana’s efforts to ensure high-school students are ready for college or a career during a panel discussion at this year’s National Forum on Education Policy.

Over the past two years, during which Bullock served as chair of the forum, the governor has focused his efforts on promoting dual enrollment.

“Here in Montana, we’re preparing our students to be college and career ready in today’s economy and for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Bullock. “We’re strengthening pathways for students, even while they’re still in high school, to explore careers through work-based learning and to get a head start on a certification or degree through dual enrollment.”

During the panel, Bullock said dual enrollment has emerged as an effective way to save students and families money on higher education.

Bullock said the state has worked to increase dual enrollment by growing the number of high school teachers who are qualified to teach dual enrollment classes at high school. He also encouraged colleges to offer free dual credit classes at high schools.

“Our states have an incredible opportunity to strengthen public education and the talent pipeline if we look beyond the four-year degree and develop multiple pathways for students and workers to be successful in their careers and fill the high-demand, good-paying jobs businesses need to grow,” Bullock said.

Over the past five years, the number of Montana students enrolled has grown by 130 percent. This year, more than 5,000 students enrolled in dual credit courses across the state this year, an increase of 1,000 over the prior year.

Bullock said that saved Montana families $4 million in future tuition costs.