A year of college for $750 or less? It’s possible with the Indiana College Core

(INDIANAPOLIS) – New data show that earning the Indiana College Core in high school is associated with significant cost savings and student success, but too few students have the opportunity to earn it. The Indiana College Core is a 30-credit-hour block of general education college-level coursework that transfers seamlessly to all Indiana public colleges and universities and some private institutions.

“We are encouraged to see growing numbers of Hoosier students earning the Indiana College Core in high school,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said. “We know those who earn the Core save time and money and are more likely to succeed in college. Working in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, we can accelerate our efforts to make sure more students and families know about the Indiana College Core and to help additional schools offer it to their students.”

High school students who earn the Indiana College Core enroll in a series of dual credit courses, which allows them to earn high school and college credit at the same time. Dual credit courses are taught at a high school by high school teachers through a formal agreement and partnership between the high school and the participating college or university. The state provides funding to schools for many dual credit courses, including those that combine for the Indiana College Core.

See a one-page overview regarding the Indiana College Core and its benefits here.

“The Indiana College Core is one powerful example of the way our state is blurring the lines between high school, college and careers for our students,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “As a state, we must partner with schools to ensure they have the tools, resources and support needed to make opportunities like the Indiana College Core available for their students. Our department remains committed to working with school leaders to identify barriers to implementation and develop creative solutions that get us closer to our shared goal: improved outcomes for students.”

The Indiana College Core, formerly the Statewide Transfer General Education Core (STGEC), was created in state statute in 2012. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education unveiled the new name for the STGEC with the launch of the 2021 Early College Report. The rebrand and new name is designed to better communicate the purpose of the Indiana College Core and creates a new opportunity to share information about its benefits and the need for expanded availability across Indiana high schools.

Key findings about the Indiana College Core from the Commission’s 2021 Early College Credit Report show:

  • More students are earning the Indiana College Core. The number of high school students earning the Indiana College Core (established in 2012) has grown from 11 in the graduating class of 2013 to 1,200 in the class of 2018 and over 1,600 in the class of 2019.
  • Students who earn the Indiana College Core are likely to enroll in college and are successful when they get there. About 94 percent of Indiana College Core earners went on to attend college during the 2018-2019 academic year, and 70 percent of Indiana College Core earners met benchmarks for early success in college. Students demonstrating early college success 1) do not require remediation in math or English before beginning college level work; 2) complete all courses they attempt in their first year of college; and 3) persist to their second year of college.
  • The Indiana College Core offers significant cost savings for students and families. Students can earn the Indiana College Core – the equivalent of one full-year of college credits – at a cost of no more than $750, a fraction of the cost of college tuition.
  • Substantial gaps exist for students receiving the Indiana College Core. Far too few Indiana high schools currently offer the Indiana College Core: The commission estimates the Core is currently available at just one in five Indiana high schools. Furthermore, students who earn the Indiana College Core are more likely to be White and come from higher-income households, compared to the overall high school population.

Supporting Schools and Strengthening the Dual Credit Educator Pipeline
To close equity gaps and provide more quality early college credit opportunities for Hoosier students—including the Indiana College Core—the state must ensure more high school teachers have the academic preparation and credentials required to teach dual credit.

Beginning September 1, 2023, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is requiring high school educators who teach dual credit courses to meet new requirements. Indiana is providing free tuition for teachers through Teach Dual Credit Indiana and STEM Teach Indiana to ensure there are ample opportunities for teachers—at no cost—to become fully credentialed and meet the HLC requirements. The Commission also recently created and distributed the Learn More Indiana Educator Guide, with the goal of ensuring educators, especially counselors, have the information and tools they need to help students make wise decisions about the Indiana College Core and early college credit based on their aspirations after high school.

Read the full Early College Credit report and other Commission reports at www.che.in.gov/reports. Explore resources available to help students plan, prepare and pay for college at www.LearnMoreIndiana.org.