Senator Bettencourt Joined by Education Leaders to Highlight Dual Credit Success of SB 1004

HOUSTON – Senator Paul Bettencourt held a press conference today at Lone Star College-University Park to announce the success of dual credit programs in Harris County, as expanded by SB 1004. He was joined by Lone Star College Chancellor Stephen Head, Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer, and Lee Community College Chancellor Dennis Brown. Also speaking for ISD’s and students were CyFair ISD Superintendent Mark Henry, CyFair ISD dual credit student Kathy Guerra, Spring ISD Superintendent Rodney Watson, as well as Michael Love, representing Houston ISD and a representative of Aldine ISD.

School: Enrollment, Spring 2015 Enrollment, Spring 2016
Lone Star College 10,232 11,370
San Jacinto College 2,594 3,000
Houston Community College 5,771 6,230
Lee College 920 1,300
14% Increase (2,743) 19,517 22,260

Today the four Chancellors reported a 14% increase in dual credit enrollment this Spring and credited the changes made in Senate Bill 1004. Each community college system saw an increase in just one year.

“It was amazing to hear from CyFair ISD student Kathy Guerra, who is taking full advantage of the dual credit opportunities,” said Senator Bettencourt. “When a high school student is able to start college with 16 semester hours already completed, that saves the ISD, the student, the parents, and the colleges both time and money. It also costs the State less too! It really is a win-win, commonsense public policy issue.”

Dual credit expansion has improved flexibility to allow partnerships between school districts in Harris County and any community college system that is also located in Harris County. It allows school districts to work with any community college system to offer unlimited dual credit courses and remove the current three-course limit requirement per student. “Dual credits are the wave of the future,” added Senator Bettencourt.

Research shows students perform better in high school and in college after taking dual credit coursework,” stated Chancellor Stephen Head. “SB 1004 was the most important, practical bill for community colleges in the last Legislative Session.” He quipped it was the “Dual Credit Deregulation Act.”

I am happy and proud to see this across the board increase in dual credit enrollment in Harris County as a result of SB 1004,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “Harris County is the pilot program for expansion of dual credit enrollment in Texas, and it is great to see when the Legislature gets something right!”

SB 1004 was authored by Senator Bettencourt and carried in the Texas House by Representative Senfronia Thompson.