• Elevate: Dual Enrollment Scholarships

  • Overview

    Students who go to high schools in the Tuscaloosa City Schools have the opportunity to go to college for free.

    Tuscaloosa City School students who are in grades 10-12th grades are eligible to apply for dual enrollment classes at The University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College or Stillman College and have a total of up to 12 credit hours paid for through the City of Tuscaloosa ELEVATE funding, which devotes $750,000 a year toward dual enrollment opportunities within the city. The credit hours can count toward both high school and college credit, depending on the courses selected.

    “This is giving an opportunity to those who wouldn’t normally have it,” said Andrea Markham, the coordinator of post-secondary engagement for the Tuscaloosa City Schools.

    In addition to the class tuition, books and fees are also covered by the ELEVATE funding. Classes can be offered either virtually or in person, and summer dual enrollment courses are also an option.

    Enrollment in the program is ongoing. The school counselors can help students with the needed paperwork. They can also click the links on this page to find out more information about the participating institutions. To enroll, students must be in a city high school at least one year prior to taking courses, be in good standing and have a 2.5 minimum GPA. TCS students may take more than 12 hours of dual enrollment courses, but the ELEVATE scholarship ends after 12 course hours. 

  • Research

    Current research suggests that Dual-enrollment programs have been linked to higher high school graduation rates and increase the likelihood that students will enroll in an institution of higher education.

    In addition, students who completed dual-enrollment programs in high school tended to have higher cumulative GPAs during their first three years in college. These benefits hold true both for the high-achieving students and students from other subsets. Advantages were also seen in the population of males and low-income students, two subsets that often struggle academically in high school and beyond. The study urged states to continue expanding dual-enrollment opportunities to students across the board, particularly those that do not typically see themselves as college-bound.

    These benefits include:

    • Less time is required after high school to finish a college degree.
    • Provides students with a head start on the college experience.
    • Dual-enrollment classes often save students money on tuition.
    • Students may enjoy access to college library and resources.
    • Grades earned become part of the student’s permanent transcript
    • Students may be able to transfer credits earned to a four-year school.
    • Classes may offer a lower ratio of students to instructors.
    • Students may explore fields of study that help them choose a major later.
    • Students may choose from classes not currently available at their high school.

    Dual-enrollment gives students a taste of college coursework while they are still enjoying the safe confines of the high school environment. At the same time, students earn credits that will apply toward a two-year degree at the school, or even toward a four-year degree, if the credits transfer fully to the four-year school of choice.

  • Results

    In 2018-2019, 105 high school seniors participated in dual enrollment opportunities with the three post-secondary institutions. With the implementation of ELEVATE in 2020-2021, nearly 500 seniors are projected to be eligible to participate and earn college credit. 232 students are enrolled in post-secondary coursework for the Fall 2020 semester.

  • Requirements

    To qualify, students must (2021-2022 cohort and beyond):

    • Attend a TCS high school at least one year prior to taking courses as part of the ELEVATE Dual Enrollment Scholarship program;
    • Live in the Tuscaloosa City Schools’ residential attendance zones (or be dependant of a TCS employee); and
    • Meet institutions’ minimum grade point average requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Quotable

  • "This initiative is bringing about an unprecedented partnership between Stillman, the University and Shelton State. This is a win for everyone. This is a win for our students. This is a win for the community."

    Mike Daria, Ed.D
    Superintendent