Dr. Heather Lambert, professor of psychology, works with students in a small lecture hall on Doane's Crete campus.
Dr. Heather Lambert, professor of psychology, works with students in a small lecture hall on Doane's Crete campus. The university now offers dual-credit opportunities to students in high school who want to challenge themselves and experience a college-level course while receiving credit toward both their high school and college education.

Doane University launches Dual-Credit program for high school students to jump-start undergraduate degrees

Grant and partnership with Crete Public Schools and Educational Service Units 5 and 6 also covers tuition for future educators to pursue specific dual-credit pathway

High school students looking to get a head start on their undergraduate degrees can now receive college credit even before stepping on campus through Doane University’s Dual-Credit program. The courses in the program can apply directly to all of the university’s undergraduate majors and are also transferable to other four-year institutions.

“Today’s high school students are more aware than ever of the costs of getting their four-year degree. By offering dual-credit courses, we want to help them get a leg up on their future,” said Erin May, director of Doane’s Open Learning Academy, which offers online courses and certificates. “Students who enroll in our dual-credit program will get a cost-effective start to their college education that will also help them prepare for the different challenges of studying and completing college courses at a four-year institution.”

Costs are just $75 per credit hour, comparable to costs per credit hour at regional community colleges. Available courses will typically be 2-3 credit hours in total, and will be offered through multiple modalities — online, in-person, or a hybrid of the two depending on student and district demand.

Course offerings will primarily fall into the Doane Core, which are courses focused on foundational areas of knowledge that can be used toward general requirements. These may include math, English, science, history and more. No matter which class students enroll in, they’ll get a taste of the university’s liberal arts approach, which encourages students to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively and navigate complex topics, skills valuable in pursuing a four-year degree and prized by future employers.

There are no prerequisites for students to meet before enrolling in dual-credit courses, although it is recommended that students are ready to experience a more rigorous college course. Enrolled students will be able to access resources available to Doane students, including tutoring and academic advising, if necessary.

“There are many great reasons for students to consider adding a dual-credit course to their high school experience. They can challenge themselves academically, experience a course that may not otherwise be offered at their high school, or reduce the cost for them to attend a four-year institution,” May said. “For some students, it may also be a way to add flexibility to their college schedules. By getting some of the core classes out of the way, they may be able to add a second major or minors within four years.”

Educator Pipeline Collaborative (EPiC) Dual-Credit Pathway

Additionally, through a partnership between Doane, Crete Public Schools and Educational Service Units 5 and 6, students within those districts who are interested in becoming educators can receive dual-credit for their degree program at zero cost. The Educator Pipeline Collaborative (EPiC) pathway is available for any student to participate, but students must attend a participating school district to receive the tuition waiver, which is funded by an Educator Shortage Grant received from the Nebraska Department of Education.

“Doane has long had strong partnerships with our regional K-12 districts, and our teacher education program is well-known for its quality. The EPiC pathway allows us to grow that collaboration and to provide our local students with an early opportunity to develop their interests in becoming educators,” said Dr. Tim Frey, dean of Doane’s College of Education. “Throughout the past few years, it’s become clear that Nebraska has a severe shortage of educators, and through the efforts of our faculty and our district partners, this pathway will open doors for today’s students to become great teachers.” 

The EPiC pathway was created to provide a way for students to explore a teaching career while still in high school. Students who complete the five courses in the pathway will also be able to reduce the cost and time investment required for their degree in Early or Secondary Education at Doane or in other teacher education degree programs.

“It is our belief that this partnership, focused on an innovative approach to the recruitment of new teachers to the education profession, will help address the immediate shortages of educators,” said Dr. Brenda McNiff, ESU #5 administrator. “We look forward to this partnership and are excited to realize the outcomes it will have on schools, communities and the future of Nebraska.”

Courses in the pathway include an introduction to education, child development, instructional technology, special education and a practicum.

“This regional partnership emphasizes collaboration between the K-12 and university levels to attain the common goal of building our educator workforce. We are proud to partner with Doane University, Crete Public Schools and our colleagues at ESU 5,” said Dr. John Skretta, ESU #6 administrator.

Students attending high school in these districts are eligible for waived tuition as part of the EPiC dual-credit pathway:

  • Centennial Public Schools  
  • Crete Public Schools  
  • Dorchester Public Schools  
  • Exeter-Milligan Public Schools  
  • Fillmore Central Public Schools  
  • Friend Public Schools  
  • Heartland Community Schools  
  • Malcolm Public Schools  
  • McCool Junction Public Schools 
  • Milford Public Schools  
  • Norris Public Schools  
  • Seward Public Schools  
  • Shickley Public Schools  
  • Waverly Public Schools  
  • Wilber-Clatonia Public Schools  
  • York Public Schools  
  • Beatrice Public Schools 
  • Bruning-Davenport Unified School District
  • Deshler Public Schools
  • Diller-Odell Public Schools
  • Fairbury Public Schools
  • Freeman Public Schools
  • Meridian Public Schools
  • Southern School District
  • Thayer Central Community Schools
  • Tri County Public Schools

High school students, parents, teachers and administrators can learn more about these programs and apply online at doane.edu/dual-credit.