Monday, 15 July 2024

Yuba College’s free college opportunities for current high school students grow

MARYSVILLE, Calif. – In the fall of 2010, Yuba College began the first semester of its dual enrollment program, a program that offers area high school students the opportunity to take college classes for no cost.

Just over 200 students took advantage of the opportunity that first year, setting them up for success upon graduating from high school.

Since then, the program has increased more than ten times its original enrollment, now boasting 2,349 students, according to Dr. Jeremy Brown, vice president of instruction at Yuba College.

He said equitable access to higher education can start while a student is in high school with partnerships like these.

“Dual enrollment sets high school students on a solid path for their future,” Brown explained. “We know that to remain competitive in our economy, create an employable workforce, and continue to support our community's needs, we need to be ready to support students' access to dual enrollment more broadly.”

Anabel Toche’s sons Roman and Omar Toche have both taken part in dual enrollment opportunities with Yuba College. She said she has been impressed with their experiences.

“I want to highlight the significant growth and maturity I've observed in both of them as they navigate their path as young college students,” she shared, adding, “Being a first-generation college student myself, this experience has undoubtedly altered our family's trajectory in terms of college opportunities.”

Roman was unsure about dual enrollment, but decided to sign up with the support of his family, he said.

“Admittedly, the journey was challenging,” he said. “My drive came from knowing that I would already be two years into my college education when I finished. I'm thankful for that great opportunity.”

Yuba College offers a variety of dual enrollment opportunities with over a dozen high schools in the region.

Traditional dual enrollment is when a high school student chooses to enroll in a college course with approval from their high school counselor and parent or guardian.

Regional high school students can also take advantage of The College and Career Access Pathways, a dual enrollment program located on twelve high school campuses.

The Middle College Academy is a school created by Marysville Joint Unified School District on Yuba College’s Marysville Campus. Students take high school classes during the first part of the day and college classes in the afternoon. They can choose a major and pursue their degree while working with a college counselor.

The Early College Program, which Roman and Omar participated in, offers two college courses that students take as a group at Yuba College each morning of their four years of high school.

These classes have been carefully selected to ensure students earn their associate degree when they graduate from high school. This program is available to students at Yuba City Unified School District and the Marysville Joint Unified School District.

Wheatland Union High School District started partnering with Yuba College in 2019 to offer students as many opportunities for dual enrollment as possible. Superintendent Dr. Nicole Newman is pleased with how genuinely dedicated the faculty and staff at both the college and high school are to their students’ success.

“This seamless collaboration allows us to offer a comprehensive dual enrollment experience that truly bridges the gap between high school and college and creates a supportive learning environment,” she said. “Our program's success is evidenced by our track record of student achievement and satisfaction.”

Newman said the WUHSD and Yuba College partnership offers dual enrollment students a wide range of courses, tailored support services and personalized learning pathways, while “empowering them to excel academically, pursue their passions and prepare students for future success in college, career and beyond.”

For students looking to explore dual enrollment, Roman advises leaning on family and fellow students for support and to ask faculty for help.

Omar is in his second semester and emphasized how important it is for students to feel comfortable with faculty members.

“I am really enjoying my teachers at the college, although they have been challenging,” he said. “I feel they are helping me a lot in not only building my confidence but also introducing me to the college environment.”

Yuba College faculty member Korey Champe says he does not lower his expectations of high school students. “I assign the same amount of work and give the same exams that I give to high school graduates. My dual enrollment students really are taking college classes.”

Newman adds that the region has seen significant improvements in state Math and English Language Arts, or ELA, scores since offering dual enrollment courses.

“By exposing students to challenging coursework that mirrors college-level expectations, we have seen a marked increase in academic achievement and proficiency in these critical subjects,” she said. “Such an increase that we were the highest district in the Colusa-Yuba-Sutter region and only a handful in the state that saw increases in both ELA and Math.”

Champe expressed why dual enrollment is especially crucial for high school students in the region.

“We have a real opportunity to reach marginalized students. With mindful development, recruiting and support, we can achieve equity goals and enhance opportunities for higher education. This is especially important for our financially disadvantaged students.”

Yuba College is continuing to establish more partnerships in the region to provide free access to higher education to more high school students in the region.

Currently, Yuba College Dean of STEM and Social Sciences Dr. Michael Bagley and Deputy Superintendent of Sutter County Schools Joe Hendrix are working to form a consortium to offer a series of online CCAP offerings to meet the needs of the smaller rural high schools in the region.

To learn more about dual enrollment opportunities with Yuba College visit

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