UC gives high schoolers a head start in earning college credit

More incoming UC students start their first year with college credit through Ohio program.


Incoming University of Cincinnati freshman Samantha Pflieger is getting used to wearing a cap and gown.

The 18-year-old from Sandusky, Ohio, walked in a college commencement the week before she graduated from high school after earning an associate’s degree in a state education program called College Credit Plus.

“My senior year I didn’t take any classes at my high school,” she said. “I am the first student at Sandusky to earn an associate’s degree and a high school diploma.”



Pflieger spent her senior year at a college campus but she continued to be a part of her Sandusky High School graduating class. She was a member of student council and attended prom and homecoming.

The teenager already has 62 college credits, even before she attends her first class this fall in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. She plans to major in marketing and environmental studies with a minor in Spanish.

Pflieger took part in a weeklong leadership conference hosted by UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, where she wants to study marketing.

“We came to Cincinnati a lot. I have two other family members going there. I fell in love with the campus,” she said. (Her older sister, Megan Fox, is an alumna of UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.) “I’m very excited about living in a bigger city, meeting new people and being in a different atmosphere.”



College Credit Plus has grown increasingly popular with Ohio students since lawmakers created the program in 2014. Students can attend classes at their high schools, on a college campus or online starting as early as the seventh grade.

Since the school district subsidizes tuition, students and their parents can save a great deal. Ohio students saved $140 million in equivalent tuition during the 2016-17 school year. This is no small consideration. Pflieger worked a part-time job at Panera Bread while in high school.

Nearly 1,800 enrolling students at UC’s three campuses received some college credit through the program in each of the past two school years.

Pflieger said she is looking forward to the rest of her college experience at UC. And when she completes her bachelor’s and dons a cap and gown as a Bearcat, she’ll think back on her first commencement when she accepted her leatherbound associate’s degree.

“That was a surreal experience. I was grateful I was able to do that,” she said.


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