The recession last decade saw an increase in community college enrollment of up to 33% because of the financial advantage of attending a two-year school versus a four-year university. Considering that cost of tuition has on average more than doubled for all post-secondary schools over the past two decades, well outpacing inflation and average cost of living, the junior college route seems a great alternative to burying oneself in copious, often insurmountable debt to start off your adult journey through life.

What’s better than cheaper? How about free?

Students in the Bibb County system can get college credits for free, if they apply in time, and apply themselves to the task.

“I wish more students would take advantage of the opportunity to obtain college credit free of charge.” — Linda Conklan

“Several years ago the Bibb County BOE applied for and received a grant to provide college courses to Bibb County students at Bibb County HS and West Blocton HS in conjunction with Shelton State Community College. The grant provides funds for tuition and books so there is no cost to students other than transportation costs,” according to Linda Conklan, Assistant Technology Coordinator and Honors Math Teacher at Bibb County High School.

“Students must apply and be accepted to Shelton State and must meet the course requirement for enrolling in the course,” she went on. “We offer English 101, taught by Mrs. Vanessa Dukes, at West Blocton HS and Math 100: Intermediate College Algebra, which I teach, at Bibb County HS. Bot courses are open to student from both high schools.

“I wish more students would take advantage of the opportunity to obtain college credit free of charge. These courses are ones that would most likely transfer to any state college. Mrs. Dukes and I have both been vetted by Shelton State and designated as qualified adjunct teachers. We use the same syllabus that the on-campus instructors use. Our timeline is adjusted to fit the calendar for Bibb County, but otherwise we cover the same material that the students would cover in classes at Shelton. I have known students who drove to Shelton to pay for the same course they could take here for free.”

As one of Mrs. Conklan’s former students, I will attest that she was right when she told us that math is useful in the real world. It’s way more than useful, in fact. It’s essential. So is English.

As a father with children rapidly approaching college age, I can attest that free tuition and college credits are worth more than face value. Sign up while you can. The deadline for summer courses at Bibb schools is May 3rd.


Enrollment data:

SOURCEThe Bibb Voice
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A father, creative professional, and an alumnus of Bibb County High School, Jeremy has found his way back to Centreville after many years away. He studied Finance and Economics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and almost a decade ago left the "normal" business world for audio and video production. A freelance writer, photographer, sound engineer, and film and video producer/director/editor, his work has appeared online for Southern Living, People, Health, Food & Wine, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light, It's a Southern Thing, and This Is Alabama, as well as for independent musicians and filmmakers across Alabama.