April 25, 2017

CARTERVILLE — John A. Logan College found another feather in its cap this week as it became only the second college in Illinois and one of only 105 nationwide to receive a prestigious accreditation for its dual credit program.

“This is great news not only for the College, but for all the citizens of Southern Illinois showing how downstate higher learning institutions are leading the way in Illinois,” said Melanie Pecord, acting vice president of Instruction at John A. Logan College.

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) announced Monday that JALC’s dual credit program had been awarded accreditation.

“I am very pleased to recognize the dual credit program at John A. Logan College as one of a select group of 105 concurrent enrollment partnerships nationwide accredited through NACEP’s extensive peer-review process,” said Victoria Zeppelin, chair of the NACEP’s Accreditation Commission. “John A. Logan College has demonstrated to its peers that the college courses it offers in high schools are the same high quality as college courses offered on campus.”

The only other college in Illinois to be accredited by the NACEP is Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.

The mission of JALC’s dual credit program is to give high school students who attend high schools in the John A. Logan College district — 11 in all — or home school students who reside in the College’s district the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school.

In some cases, the program allows high school students to graduate from JALC at the same time they graduate from high school. In any case, it gives high school students participating in dual credit a head start toward earning a college degree or certification.

And it’s popularity is growing, says Scott Wernsman, director of Partnerships and Dual Credit at John A. Logan College. From the fall 2012 semester to the fall 2016 semester, credit hours through the dual credit program increased by nearly 84 percent.

“It’s growing popularity is one of the reasons we felt it was important to seek accreditation,” Wernsman said. “We wanted the proof, if you will, that our program is as good as any program of its kind across the nation. Now we have that proof.”

In addition to giving students a head start toward a college degree, Wernsman pointed out that dual credit also allows parents to save money on their child’s college education.

“There are so many benefits to dual credit,” Wernsman said. “Getting a jump start on a college degree, saving money, giving high school students the opportunity to get a feel for college courses, these are some of those benefits.”

Wernsman works closely with high schools and home schools to promote enrollment and opportunities through dual credit.

“I love to see students succeed,” Wernsman said. “I love to hear the many stories of achievements of dual credit students. Many people find it surprising that high school students can graduate from John A. Logan College at the same time they graduate from high school. This year, because of the timing of one high school’s graduation, we have a student who will actually graduate from college before they graduate from high school. That’s amazing, I think.”