Penn College NOW Dual-Enrollment Program Reaccredited

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program – which provided $2.7 million of college credits free to Pennsylvania high school students in 2016-17 – received reaccreditation from the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the organization announced on May 2.

Penn College NOW was established by the college in 2005 to provide Penn College courses to high school students at their schools or career and technology centers. In 2011, it became the first dual-enrollment program in the state to receive accreditation from NACEP, the sole national accrediting body for concurrent-enrollment partnerships. Today only two Pennsylvania dual-enrollment programs are nationally accredited.

Plastics and polymer engineering technology student Sapphire E. Naugle, who earned 18 Penn College credits while a student at Jersey Shore Area High School, leads a group of Central Mountain High School Penn College NOW students and others through the college’s rotational molding lab.

The rigorous standards dual-enrollment programs must meet to maintain NACEP accreditation ensure the integrity of college courses are maintained in the high school setting.

“These students will be meeting the same student outcomes and learning objectives,” said Laura M. Machak, college transitions specialist. “If they were to graduate with credits earned at a high school or career and technology center and come to Penn College, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off and have the same knowledge base as the student who took those courses on campus.”

Through Penn College NOW, college courses are offered free to students by nearly 50 secondary-education partners across the state, with more signing on each year. The program offers both technical and general-education coursework. All courses apply to at least one of the college’s degree programs, and many apply to several.

Through their Penn College NOW coursework, students earn credits and official transcripts from Penn College, as well as their high school or career and technology center.

Approved secondary instructors are trained by and receive ongoing mentoring from Penn College faculty members who teach the same disciplines on campus.

To help ensure that Penn College NOW is meeting high standards, the College Transitions Office conducts annual evaluations to help inform program improvements. As part of the evaluation, the college asks both students and personnel from partner schools and career and technology centers to complete a course evaluation survey.

“I’m very pleased to recognize the Penn College NOW program at Pennsylvania College of Technology as one of a select group of 107 concurrent-enrollment partnerships nationwide that are accredited through NACEP’s extensive peer-review process,” said 2017-18 NACEP Accreditation Commission Chair Victoria Zeppelin, of Tompkins Cortland Community College. “Pennsylvania College of Technology has once again demonstrated to its peers that the college courses it offers in high schools are of the same high quality as college courses offered on campus.”

In 2016-17, 97 percent of students who enrolled in a Penn College NOW course passed the class and earned Penn College credit. In all, 1,297 Pennsylvania secondary-school students earned 5,101 college credits through Penn College NOW that year.

In 2017-18, 1,539 students are enrolled in more than 6,700 credits.

“The success of the program is due in large part to the relationships between our faculty and secondary teachers, and the relationship that the College Transitions Office staff has with our secondary partners,” said Monica A. McCarty, dual enrollment specialist.

“Williamsport Area High School is thankful for its close relationship with Pennsylvania College of Technology,” said Randy Zangara, administrative director of career and technical education/principal for Williamsport Area High School. “This relationship has created great opportunities for students, such as the Penn College NOW dual enrollment program. This opportunity gives our students confidence that they can handle college-level coursework; it helps alleviate a number of potential courses they would have to take in college; and more importantly, it alleviates some financial burden that comes along with pursuing a college education. Penn College NOW is an opportunity that is a win-win for both our high school and our students!”

To earn accreditation from NACEP, concurrent-enrollment programs conduct a self-study and document how their programs adhere to NACEP’s standards in the areas of faculty, curriculum, assessment, students and program evaluation. A team of representatives from NACEP‐accredited programs conduct a rigorous review of the program’s portfolio of evidence, culminating in a final review and decision by the nine-member NACEP Accreditation Commission.

To learn more about Penn College NOW and other services the college provides to K-12 educators, call 570-320-8003, email or visit the College Transitions Office.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State