Dual-Enrollment Program in Loudoun County on Hold

A turf war over college credit is playing out in Loudoun County, Virginia.

As we reported in January, Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn started a dual-enrollment program with a select number of students.

Currently, Rock Ridge is offering a college-level course in physics free of tuition with students only paying an application fee.

Richard Bland College of William and Mary provides the credits to the students.

However, following our report, Northern Virginia Community College contacted state education officials, essentially challenging Richard Bland’s jurisdiction in northern Virginia.

An NVCC spokesperson didn’t respond to News4’s request for an interview.

Last week, the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), gave Richard Bland a partial go-ahead.

“We’ve got the approval from the state now and we’re just hoping that we can move forward with approval from the county to keep on going for next year,” said Tyler Hart, dean of enrollment at Richard Bland.

But Loudoun County Public Schools is now stalling the program; it’s unclear why.

The program was set to expand within Rock Ridge High School next year to include theater and possibly biology and chemistry dual-enrollment courses.

Sophomore Jessica Howard thinks theater might be her career path and went through two days of intense auditions to get approved.

“So to get a college credit out of the way that’s really cool! Because that’s less money [toward college],” she said.

But LCPS’s inaction following the SCHEV’s approval of the courses is leading to confusion among students, according to School Counselor Director Kevin Terry.

“They know they’re signing up for physics and drama but they don’t know if it’s going to be dual-enrolled,” Terry said.

“It would be a very sad thing for those of us who put in work to be in this course,” Jessica added.

She said she doesn’t care which college backs the credits as long as she can still get them free of charge.

“It’s less about what school sponsors it, but more about the opportunities that are given to those of use who are very interested in it,” she said.

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