College in the High School program to expand to six more districts

College in the High School students at Bradford Area High School

Pitt-Bradford will expand its College in the High School program, which allows high school students to take college courses in their own schools, to six more school districts this fall. 

            The additional school districts are Brookville Area School District in Jefferson County, Forest Area School District in Forest County, Kane and Port Allegany area school districts in McKean County, Oil City Area School District in Venango County and Warren County School District in Warren County, which includes four high schools.

            “The College in the High School program offered by Pitt-Bradford is an extraordinary opportunity for students,” said Sandra Craft, superintendent of Brookville Area School District. “Students can enroll in a college class taught by a familiar teacher in the environment of their school at an affordable cost.”

            The new districts join 12 others representing 430 students enrolled in first-year college courses at their high school taught by their own teachers. Teachers must hold a master’s degree, undergo training from Pitt-Bradford and follow a Pitt-Bradford syllabus. The content of a normal college semester is taught over the course of a full school year.

            Courses offered range from math and composition to petroleum technology, biology, chemistry, geography, Spanish, environmental science, political science and more, depending on the abilities and interests of the faculty in each school district. The 2013-14 school year could see more than 600 students enrolled.

            “The schools are very interested in it,” said Dr. Stephen Robar, associate dean of academic affairs who oversees the program for Pitt-Bradford. Robar said support for the program is strong not only among high school faculty, but also among Pitt-Bradford faculty, which is key since each teacher has a liaison at the college whom he or she can call for support.

            Robar said that before he approached new schools for the program, he spoke with the faculty about expanding it and found them interested in supporting the program.

            The high school teachers visit campus once over the summer to meet their Pitt-Bradford support faculty. Robar said that the Pitt-Bradford faculty look forward to this event because they also learn from this meeting about how the high school students are being taught.

            Pitt-Bradford began the College in the High School program in 2005-06 with 43 students, and it has grown significantly in part due to funds made available through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Educational Improvement Tax Credit.

            Through the tax credit, businesses may redirect up to $300,000 of their PA tax liability to an approved Educational Improvement Organization such as Pitt-Bradford. Because new companies chose to participate in the EITC program and support Pitt-Bradford last year, the program has been able to expand to more school districts.

            The tax credits also benefit Pitt-Bradford’s Bridges program, which allows high school students to take regular college courses on campus for a fraction of the cost of regular tuition.

            “This is a win-win-win situation for families, for high schools and for the region,” Robar said.

            For more information on whether a business may qualify for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, contact Rick Esch, vice president of business affairs at Pitt-Bradford, at (814)362-0992 or This year’s deadline for application is July 1.