College of Western Idaho (CWI) has expanded an impactful initiative aimed at helping Spanish speaking high school students earn college credits. In February, CWI’s Dual Credit Office coordinated an effort that allowed 62 Vallivue High School students to take the Spanish Language CLEP Exam. The test provides an opportunity to earn college credit through proficiency testing.
The students from Vallivue earned 760 college credits that can be applied to CWI or any other college or university that recognizes CLEP. CWI partnered with Vallivue to utilize the state’s Fast Forward program to cover the cost of the exam. Beyond what the Fast Forward program could cover, CWI paid the remaining fees. Students took the exam and a campus tour at Boise State University.
“When this initiative was inaugurated in the fall of 2014, we recognized how empowering this credit bearing opportunity was for students,” says Steve Jenkins, CWI’s Dual Credit and College Readiness Project coordinator. “We understand that higher education advances knowledge, intellectual growth, and the formation of life-long friendships. We feel every student should have an opportunity to experience college, which is why we have endeavored to expand the on-ramp toward college.”
The goal of the CLEP initiative is to help promote college to students who face obstacles in pursuing higher education. Of the 62 Vallivue students, for example, 66 percent would be the first in their family to attend college. Similarly, two-thirds of the students said Spanish is the primary language spoken in their home.
CWI has been leading the Spanish CLEP initiative since 2014, with the initial focus being alternative high school students. Along with Vallivue, participating schools include; Canyon Springs High School, Vallivue Academy, Union High School, and Initial Point High School. To date, 1,485 college credits have been earned. The Dual Credit Office plans to provide more opportunities to non-alternative high schools in hopes of reaching even more students.