News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: February 4, 2021

High school students taking advantage of dual credit opportunities

Fennimore -

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Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is expanding opportunities for high school students to gain a head start on their college education. The students save time and money in the process.

Options for high school students to earn college credit with Southwest Tech include:

• CollEDGE Up

Program established through a partnership between Southwest Tech and CESA #3 allowing students to earn a technical diploma or portions of an associate degree program while still enrolled in high school.

• Start College Now

Program established by the State of Wisconsin that allows high school juniors and seniors to enroll in technical college courses that are not comparable to courses offered at the high school.

• Transcripted Credit

College-level course taught by a WTCS certified high school instructor at the high school during the traditional school day. Student receives technical college credit upon completion of the course.

• Advanced Standing

High school course that meets the competencies of a technical college course. Students earning a B or better are awarded the course credit upon enrollment in a program at the technical college.

• 38.14 Contracted Courses

Southwest Tech courses taught face-to-face at the high school or virtually by Southwest Tech faculty at a time that will work within the high school schedule.

“What I am really seeing is an increased enrollment with students in dual enrollment programs,” said Mary Johannesen, Career Prep and Dual Enrollment coordinator. “Whether that be Start College Now, CollEDGE Up, or transcripted credits.”

As an example, the first semester of the CollEDGE Up program in fall 2018 saw an enrollment of 17 students. That number grew to 87 students in the fall of 2020.

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CollEDGE Up offerings are being expanded this year. Lab Science and CNC Machine Operator/Programmer will be offered to high school students at Platteville High School beginning in the 2021 school year. Lab Science is currently being offered at Richland Center High School. While offered at specific high schools, these programs are available to any interested student from high schools within the CESA #3 district.

Through the transcripted credit programs, students realized a tuition savings of $674,850 in 2019-2020. According to Southwest Tech’s 2019-2020 Southwest Wisconsin Career Prep Consortium Annual Report, 70.4-percent of high school graduates in the district earned dual credit.

“SWTC courses are a great way to get college credits, and also to gain experience and knowledge about different topics,” said Macy Aschliman, Gear Up program student from Mineral Point High School. “I have taken multiple courses through SWTC, and in each course the professors and other staff have been very helpful and provided great resources and learning opportunities. Taking these courses has allowed me to understand some things that I like and dislike and develop a plan for my future schooling.”

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Another feature of being part of these programs, is that those who are enrolled are afforded the same resources as their Southwest Tech peers, including access to academic success coaches. Johannesen also performs a five-week assessment of the students’ progress with Start College Now and CollEDGE Up program faculty members. “We include internal monitoring of the students’ success within the department,” she said.

“Having our students participate in the CollEDGE Up program has motivated them to really think about where they are heading after high school and pushed them to begin planning for that,” stated Bre Hesseling, counselor at Highland High School. “I have been able to have some great discussions with my kids about their plans. CollEDGE Up has also allowed my students to experience the rigor of college courses in a safe, familiar environment. I feel like this has really helped them to know what to expect when they get to college (a sometimes overwhelming, unfamiliar environment) and to be prepared for it.”

The number of students with dual credit who enroll at Southwest Tech following high school graduation is also continuing to grow. According to the report, in fall 2020, 240 students with transcripted credit enrolled in programs. Forty-five students who had taken courses through Start College Now and 12 students who had taken courses through CollEDGE Up also enrolled at Southwest Tech in fall 2020.

Students interested in dual credit courses, specifically CollEDGE Up or Start College Now, must apply by March 1 for the fall 2021 semester. More information is available at or by contacting Johannesen at (608) 822-2367 or

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

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