HUDSON — About 60 Hudson High School students participating in Pasco-Hernando Community College's dual-enrollment program won't be able to take college courses on their high school campus starting next semester.
Contrary to rumors, the program is not ending. The reason for the change is a new rule handed down by PHCC's accrediting agency that limits the number of courses a student can take at a high school site.
Under the requirement, a student is limited to earning 24 percent of an associate's degree at a site other than the college's campus, said Jim Davis, Pasco County's assistant superintendent for high schools. That equals about 14 credit hours. It takes 60 hours to earn an associate's degree.
"We do anticipate they'll be able to take them on the PHCC campus," said Ruth Reilly, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instructional services.
The district is notifying parents of the affected students.
The rule applies to all high schools, but Hudson is the only one affected now because other schools offer fewer dual-enrollment courses on their campuses.
Other schools may offer more advanced-placement courses instead of dual-enrollment courses, for example.
District officials are examining various ways of dealing with the issue, including offering some courses online. Other possibilities include allowing students to substitute advanced- placement or honors courses.
Burt Harres, vice president and provost at PHCC's west campus, said Hudson has historically offered a "robust" number of dual-enrollment courses. He said the accrediting agency rule is to make sure enough classes are offered "in an environment conducive to a college education." For example, some colleges may offer courses at community centers.
"The school district and PHCC have a very good working relationship over the years," he said.
He said the college is currently renewing its accreditation, which it must do every decade, and must meet deadlines for adhering to the rules.
However, officials may be able to work with the agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, to get permission to increase the number of courses offered on high school campuses.