A new state-mandated program could be an educational windfall for students.

A new state-mandated program could be an educational windfall for students.

College Credit Plus allows Ohio students in grades 7-12 the chance to take college courses.

The Dublin City School District has students signed up to take about 350 college courses through the new program for the 2015-16 school year, and although it will help students get a jump start on college, the district is unsure of how College Credit Plus will impact them in other ways.

"From a student's perspective, it's a wonderful program," said Dustin Miller, the district's director of secondary education.

"It benefits them academically and benefits them and their families financially."

Students can take College Credit Plus courses three ways: online, on campus or at their high school if a district teacher is properly certified or a nearby college can send a professor, Miller said.

Dublin City Schools is working with Columbus State Community College to provide some professors at the school this fall for heavily requested classes, such as English 1100.

At Coffman High School 235 students are signed up to take one or two English courses from Columbus State.

The majority of students taking advantage of College Credit Plus are seniors looking to get some prerequisites out of the way.

According to the state law that mandates College Credit Plus, schools foot the bill for courses up to a full course load, including high school classes.

Dublin City School District Treasurer Stephen Osborne said the district isn't sure how the program will impact the district financially.

"We don't know," Osborne said. "It really depends on the number of students enrolling and where they take the class."

Schools have been paying for post-secondary education for students for years, but the new College Credit Plus is expected to increase the number.

Last year the district spent $106,000 on post-secondary education, Osborne said.

"We budgeted $130,000 (for the 2015-16 school year)," he said.

"We don't know where it will go. We"ll have to wait and see as the program begins."

Miller estimated about 1 percent of students at Coffman took advantage of the program before the change.

"Now because of the accessibility, the law clearly states how we're supposed to promote the program and start in sixth grade talking to parents about it, we're going to see," Miller said.

"There are predictions already that it will be at minimum five times as much (as we pay now)."

And, whereas the district will likely pay more for College Credit Plus, Miller said staffing could also be impacted.

With more than 200 Coffman students taking college English instead of high school, staffing levels might need to be adjusted.

"There is a concern statewide on how is this program going to impact current teachers," Miller said.

During a June 8 board of education meeting, President Lynn May raised concerns about how College Credit Plus will impact advanced placement and International Baccalaureate classes, with students taking college courses instead of AP and IB.

"There are so many positives for students, but in fairness there are a couple of concerns that most districts have of this and that would be (No. 1) what implication that will have on staff and two what are financial implications and (three) how do we do about advising students correctly," Miller said.