Joliet Junior College will begin charging $50 for high school students taking dual credit courses.
Dual credit courses offered in high schools provide students college credits, while also fulfilling their high school requirements.
The $50 charge will take effect for classes that start in fall 2019, although not all students will pay the fee.
Even the setting of a fee is a two-year pilot program, although it is in effect now after the JJC board voted, 7-0, for the dual credit charge Monday.
Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs will not pay the fee. And, it will not be charged for vocations and technical courses, David Naze, dean of academic excellence and support, told the JJC board Monday.
“We’re talking about a significant number of students who will be exempt from this fee,” Naze said.
The board voted, 7-0, for the fee, which Naze called “particularly reasonable.”
He compared the fee to a $4,000 cost for a three-credit course at University of St. Francis and $1,500 cost for a similar course at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Even at JJC, a comparable course would cost $436, said Bob Marcink, speaking for the JJC Faculty Union.
“We believe it’s fair,” Marcink said. “We believe it’s a tremendous value for the students in the high schools. ... If you can’t afford it, you don’t have to pay it.”
Marcink also said, “We don’t want to be giving our product away.”
Naze noted JJC will increase oversight of the program in light of a new state law called the Dual Credit Quality Act, which was enacted Aug. 23 and takes effect Jan. 1.
JJC also hopes to encourage high school students who get the credits to consider attending JJC after graduation.
Dual credit fees will be reimbursed to students who attend JJC within 15 months after graduation.
Representatives from the Plainfield and Coal City school districts expressed opposition to the fee at the meeting. Board Chairman Robert Wunderlich read a letter supporting the fee from the superintendent of the Reed-Custer School District in Braidwood.