GRCC middle college programs and district partnerships gain national recognition

Grand Rapids Community College’s middle college programs have been recognized by a national accreditation organization, becoming one of the first community colleges using their own faculty in the programs to earn the distinction. 

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships Accreditation Commission granted accreditation to 25 concurrent enrollment programs at colleges and universities nationwide, bringing the total number of NACEP-accredited programs across the country to 134. GRCC was one of three to be recognized using a new standard.

“Middle college programs are one way that GRCC is providing access to higher education while removing cost as a barrier as a result of school district partnerships,” said Dan Clark, dean of Academic Outreach and the GRCC Lakeshore Campus. “We’re proud to earn recognition for the program, but even prouder to support our students and communities and see the difference middle college can make in a person’s life.”

As the nation’s only accrediting body for such educational partnerships, NACEP’s standards serve as the model criteria for ensuring parity in faculty, course content, student outcomes and support. Receiving NACEP accreditation means an institution has met the nation’s most rigorous standard in concurrent enrollment program development, management, and evaluation across multiple, multifaceted program areas.

In 2019, NACEP membership added a new set of standards for a College Provided Faculty endorsement, a model defined as college courses taught to high school students by faculty provided by the college, regardless of location or delivery method.

“NACEP is excited to award accreditation under the CPF endorsement to three institutions: Grand Rapids Community College, Snow College, and Idaho State University,” said Diana Johnson, NACEP Accreditation Commission vice chair.

GRCC has partnerships for programs at high schools in the Wyoming, Cedar Springs, Kentwood and Kenowa Hills, at Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Ottawa Hills High School, and at the Kent Intermediate School District through the Launch U program.

Students in the programs take tuition-free GRCC classes while at high school, attend for a 13th year and graduate with a diploma and up to 60 transferable credits for an associate degree or technical certificate.

“On behalf of the Accreditation Commission, I want to congratulate all of the newly accredited and re-accredited programs,” Accreditation Commission Chair Michael Beam said. “These programs have successfully demonstrated they meet the NACEP standards for high-quality programming for concurrent enrollment, and college-provided faculty models.”

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