As Forward Wayne County focuses on Education this month, we reached out to Kyle Wright, manager of the College Now Program at Indiana University East to ask a few questions about the program and how it impacts students in Wayne County!

Kyle Wright, manager of the College Now program at Indiana University East

How old is the College Now program? How many students have been through the program since its inception?

Indiana University East is excited to celebrate the fifth year of the College Now program! College Now is a program designed to benefit area high school students by providing tuition-free college courses in the college environment.

Almost 200 students have taken part in College Now since the program started in 2019. The students have have earned a combined amount of almost 1,000 college credits!

The 2022-23 school year was the program’s biggest and best to date. More than 100 students participated in College Now courses last year. They compiled an average GPA of better than 3.30!

What schools participate in the College Now Program?

Thanks to generous support from the Wayne County Foundation and First Bank Richmond, College Now has expanded to include all six high schools in Wayne County – Richmond, Centerville, Hagerstown, Lincoln, Northeastern and Seton Catholic. College Now even has a presence in Randolph County, where students at Union take part in the College Now experience.

What are some of the benefits for the students that go through this program? How does it give them an advantage over their peers who might not be utilizing the program?

College Now offers a helpful head start for area high school students thinking about attending college after their high school graduation.

The students get a head start toward their degree by earning college credit. Students can earn up to 24 college credits over two years in the College Now program. That’s almost a full year of college coursework!

Perhaps as importantly, they get a chance to experience the environment on a college campus. They can sit in IU East classrooms, alongside IU East students, learning from IU East professors, while experiencing the on-campus events IU East has to offer.

And, as online college coursework becomes more common, some College Now students get a chance to take online courses in IU East’s online environment. The experience prepares the students for future online coursework.

How do you think this program impacts students who may have not been planning to pursue higher education? Does this give them an incentive to continue their studies? Have you had any students who were not planning to attend a university, but were able to because of this program?

Every year, we hear success stories from students who say the College Now program truly prepared them for full-time college enrollment.

A growing number of College Now students do stay close to home to attend IU East. We expect the incoming Red Wolf freshman class to include about 20 students who took part in the College Now program.

How have the area high schools been beneficial to this process? Do you get a lot of buy-in from the schools?

The College Now program would not succeed without the enthusiastic buy-in from the participating schools! The administrative teams at the local high schools have been supportive from the start. We also need to recognize the hard-working high school counselors who serve as liaisons between the high schools and IU East.

College Now participants should be sure to offer a big “thank you” to their school counselors for going the extra mile to take care of the behind-the-scenes things needed to make it possible for the students to take part in the College Now program.

How can students learn more about the College Now program and apply?

Students at participating schools who are interested in the College Now program should meet with their school counselor to learn more about program requirements.

College Now is open to high school juniors and seniors. Younger students should make a goal of performing well in their classes to be sure they meet College Now requirements and are ready for college-level courses by the time they reach their junior and senior years.

Besides College Now, what are some of the other ways that IU East tries to make education accessible?

It would take several pages to list them all!

College Now has some companion dual credit programs we’d like to highlight.

IU East will launch its first dual credit career Pathway program this fall. Students from three area high schools who are interested in careers in education will take part in courses offered by the IU East School of Education. IU East plans to add more dual credit career Pathway programs in the coming years!

IU East serves as the Indiana College Core primary provider for seven area schools. Students who earn an IU East Indiana College Core Certificate while in high school complete 30 credit hours. Those are guaranteed to transfer seamlessly between state schools in the Hoosier state.

Making education accessible for our area has been IU East’s mission from the beginning. Naturally, it is one of the key goals in connection with “IU 2030,” the Indiana University strategic plan, and beyond!

Individuals who want to learn more about the College Now program at Indiana University East can visit their website to learn more.

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