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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Earns Approval By NACEP, Only Accrediting Agency for Dual Credit 

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 3, 2017) – Signifying the University of Central Missouri has met quality standards in providing oversight of college courses taught by high school instructors, UCM has earned accreditation for concurrent enrollment programs by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).  UCM is one of 19 colleges and universities nationwide to achieve this designation, NACEP announced today.

NACEP is the only accrediting organization for concurrent enrollment partnerships. It has established model criteria to ensure that high school course content and expectations for student work in dual credit courses match those on the college or university campus which is sponsoring the courses. A total of 105 NACEP-accredited programs are now available in 22 states.

“Our dual credit program has a stamp of approval as a quality program,” said Sandy Cruz, director of the high school dual credit program at UCM. “There are certain gold standards that we must meet nationally to be recognized. Collaboration and support from academic departments was key in meeting these standards and in helping us to achieve this goal for our university.”

Cruz said UCM in January 2016 submitted a letter of intent to NACEP in application for accreditation for its concurrent enrollment programs – the courses high school students take for dual credit. The lengthy process included a self-study in which a document was produced demonstrating how the university adheres to NACEP’s 17 standards. This was followed by a rigorous peer-review process conducted by a team of individuals from NACEP-accredited programs as well as the NACEP Accreditation Commission. The accreditation is valid for seven years, although annual reports will help ensure the university is staying on track with its program practices.                                                                                                                                                                 

“As the availability of college credit opportunities for high school students expands, it is vital that we maintain quality to provide a meaningful collegiate experience for students. The programs that received accreditation meet established best practices in concurrent enrollment in the areas of curriculum, faculty, students, assessment, and program evaluation,” said Victoria Zeppelin, chair of the NACEP Accreditation Commission and director of College Now at Tompkins Community College in New York.     

Zeppelin added that NACEP accreditation is considered a “hallmark of excellence” in the dual credit area. It helps ensure that college courses taught in high school support student achievement and contribute to a student’s success in pursuit of a postsecondary education.

UCM is one of only seven public and private four-year institutions in Missouri to earn NACEP accreditation. Other schools include Central Methodist University, Missouri Baptist University, Missouri Southern State University, Northwest Missouri State University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and University of Missouri-St. Louis.

According to Cruz, the demand for dual credit courses continues to increase annually. UCM served 2,416 (unduplicated) students and generated 9,397 credit hours during the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.

“We partner with 98 schools and career centers throughout Missouri to offer dual credit courses,” she noted. “We also serve the home-schooled community.”

Cost is just one of the many benefits of dual credit courses. Students who take a UCM course for dual credit while in high school pay just $85 per semester hour. That’s about 70 percent less than the cost for in-state undergraduate tuition. While reducing course costs, students also can reduce the time it takes for them to earn a college degree by getting a jump-start on their higher education.

Another benefit of taking dual credit courses is that students who are not sure if they want to attend college have an opportunity to learn more about what they can expect as postsecondary students.

“Some high school students believe that college is too difficult, but by taking a dual credit course, it helps them to build self-confidence, and they realize college is an achievable goal,” Cruz noted.

To help strengthen partnerships with area school districts, UCM launched in 2016 an Innovation Track program with Warrensburg High School which expands course offerings to high school students by opening courses on the UCM campus. This program also provides opportunities and support services that contribute to students’ success that include access to tutorial assistance, computer and writing labs on campus, a special rate for use of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, free admission to athletic events and more. Expansion goals for the Innovation Track program include Crest Ridge (Centerview) and Smith Cotton (Sedalia) high schools, and high schools in Concordia, Green Ridge, Harrisonville, Higginsville, Holden, Knob Noster, LaMonte, Leeton, Odessa, Pleasant Hill, Sweet Springs, and Wellington.

To learn more about high school dual credit courses through UCM, contact Cruz at 660-543-8718 or