Montana high school students can get a jumpstart on their college education – for free – with the state’s new “One-Two-Free” dual enrollment program announced this week.
Dual enrollment allows students to take college courses while they are still enrolled in high school. Dual enrollment courses are offered on-site at more than 90 high schools across Montana, as well as on-campus at Montana University System institutions and online.
The new “One-Two-Free” program offers all eligible high school students the chance to take their first two dual enrollment courses through the Montana University System without paying tuition or fees. The average student will save $1,190 through the “One-Two-Free” program. Total savings throughout the Montana University System will exceed $5 million annually.
Many Missoula high school students are now able to take part in this opportunity by taking classes offered at the University of Montana, Missoula College, and Bitterroot College.
“We are excited to be a part of this program,” said Roger McLean, interim dean of Missoula College. “Though we have long been a part of dual enrollment in Missoula County, allowing students to take their first two classes at no cost will remove barriers to learning and provide a gateway to higher education for many students.”
Jon Harbor, UM’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said he is happy to see the “One-Two-Free” program in Missoula and hopes that this opens the door for many high school administrators and teachers to add dual enrollment classes to their curriculum.
“We want to ensure our bridges into the high schools go both ways,” Harbor said. “Dual enrollment is an excellent way to provide opportunities for the administration and faculty to participate in a much different capacity. This is an excellent program of which we want to take full advantage.”
“By eliminating the barrier of cost, we’re ensuring that all throughout our state students have exposure to the opportunities that college provides,” said Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. “Dual enrollment is making a difference for students, families and employers across our state by saving money, streamlining workforce preparation and inspiring more students to pursue higher education.”
“Student success is the No. 1 priority of the Montana University System, and dual enrollment has proven to be a critical tool for promoting student retention and completion, while reducing the need for postsecondary remediation and decreasing time and cost to degree,” said Clayton Christian, Montana commissioner of higher education. “We are committed to making sure that those students eager to start college in high school can benefit from the value of dual enrollment and can do so tuition free.”
Students have broad options in the type of courses they take. They can choose foundational courses like math, writing and history, and also explore courses that lead to career options in fields critical to the Montana economy such as health care, manufacturing, computing, business and education.
Along with a free early start to college through “One-Two-Free,” students in need of additional financial assistance can apply to have the cost of additional dual enrollment classes waived, helping ensure that cost is not a barrier to taking advantage of dual enrollment.
In 2013, there were about 2,500 dual enrollments per year. In the 2017-18 academic year, there were more than 6,000 dual enrollments and participation grew by 1,222 students compared to the prior year, representing a huge step forward in early access to education.
The statewide “One-Two-Free” program is available this academic semester. Students who wish to participate can find more information by visiting https://mus.edu/one-two-free/index.html.