College Credit Plus helps students get more than a degree

MARIETTA, OH (Feb. 6, 2018)— When Brody Gilliand went to Ohio University (OU) last fall, he was armed with two highly valuable resources– an associate degree and loads of confidence—both of which he attained at Washington State Community College (WSCC). And both of which he credits with his initial success at OU.

As a junior at Warren High School, Gilliand was among the initial group of 54,000 students from across Ohio who enrolled in CCP in the Fall of 2015. The program is a state initiative designed to provide 7th through 12th-grade students the opportunity to earn college credits at no cost to them.

Each year, prior to receiving a high school diploma, WSCC grants approximately 30 degrees to CCP high school seniors. Across the state, 530 degrees plus an additional 283 certificates are earned thanks to CCP.

The degrees and college credits these students are earning translate into massive savings in tuition. In fact, during the 2016-2017 academic year, nearly 70,000 Ohio students earned more than half a million college credits. That’s a total of over $140 million in savings if these students and their families were actually paying the full standard tuition rate.

But College Credit Plus is so much more than a means of reducing over-all college debt. Many students, like Gilliand, discover that CCP helps them cultivate studious routines that help make them successful from the start at a four-year institution.

“Choosing to participate in the College Credit Plus through Washington State Community College was honestly one of the best decisions of my life,” acknowledged Gilliand. “Throughout high school I was an average student. I was not involved in anything, and I had not yet found myself. Once at Washington State I began to thrive,” he confessed. “I started to excel in my academics and I truly started to see myself grow. I found myself enjoying my school work and this gave me the ambition to do more!”

More is exactly what Gilliand did with his Liberal Arts Transfer Associate’s Degree.

At OU he confidently jumped in, immediately applying to the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre. This is the number one sales program in the United States and one of the premier organizations on the OU campus. It has a reputation for accepting only the very best. Not only was Gilliand admitted into the program in his first semester at OU, he was elected Director of Onboarding and now leads more than 100 new hires through the onboarding process in the program. And while it’s only February, he has also already received four paid summer internship offers.

With a double major of Marketing and Business Management and Strategic Leadership, Gilliand says he enjoys the reaction of telling people how many credits he has under his belt. “It is an amazing feeling seeing the faces of people when I tell them I transferred in 60 credit hours as a freshman. Right now, I am a freshman with junior credit hours which comes with many benefits such as early class registration, more class options, and early graduation. Going through the CCP Program has set me apart from my peers and boosted me into the ambitious young leader I am today.”

Gilliand is far from alone in praising the program. “The CCP program has helped me to transition into the college life,” said Caldwell High School Junior Cantor Schott. “It has helped me get close to my goal of a career in medicine.”

Marietta High School Senior Grace Grammer said CCP expanded her academic opportunities. “The CCP program really allows students to branch out into subjects that interest them,” said. “I found it easier to decide my future career taking courses that are more specific than the general classes offered at high school.”

While CCP is still considered a fledgling program, the State of Ohio has been a proponent of the early college option for nearly 30 years. The first dual credit program was introduced in 1989 as Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) for high school juniors and seniors. Ultimately, the evolution of the thriving program resulted in expansion, improvements and two years ago was renamed College Credit Plus.

With nearly three decades of experience behind the program, the Ohio Department of High Education (ODHE) has no intention of letting CCP grow stagnant. Recently Dr. Larisa Harper, ODHE Director of College Credit Plus began conducting a series of student focus groups. These interviews will span the next six to eight months to broaden the scope of understanding of the efficacy of CCP.

Dr. Harper explained that until now, CCP has been evaluated based on statistical (quantitative) data. However, through these interviews with current CCP students, she is getting first-hand stories from these students about their experiences.

“We need to have qualitative data, where can record the information, transcribe it, and really analyze it for themes and consistencies to make our data collection robust. And that helps inform us with regards to public policy.” she detailed.

Washington State has designated February as Early College Month to highlight the success of the CCP program and its students. Currently, the College serves 862 CCP students–302 on campus and online and 562 at area high schools.

For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth. Be inspired. Be WSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit or call 740.374.8716.