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A program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has provided a low-cost academic jumpstart for Wisconsin high school students for 35 years.

The Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) gives juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while they are still in high school at half the cost of UW Oshkosh per-credit tuition.

“CAPP is a stepping stone for students to make the transition between high school and college,” said Stephanie Ballard, a CAPP chemistry teacher at Campbellsport High School. “It gives students an extra challenge and a flavor of what college is like.”

In July, UW Oshkosh’s CAPP program became the first nationally accredited program of its kind in Wisconsin by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

“There are rigorous standards and to know that we have met them is important to our students and academic partners,” said Karen Bowen, director of UW Oshkosh’s CAPP.

To earn national accreditation means each high school that participates in CAPP is highly consistent with University-level teaching and evaluation, a standard not easily attained.

“The two levels of education get to cooperate and collaborate. Our faculty works with high school teachers to establish consistency,” said Bowen. “It’s a two-way street.”

The 18-month accreditation process included review of faculty practices, approval of curriculum and an evaluation of the program’s impact.

“We meet with faculty from UW Oshkosh’s chemistry department a few times a year, and they evaluate us,” Ballard said. “We talk back and forth about expectations to make sure we are on the same page.”

Student benefits go beyond just earning college credits: The more than 1,300 CAPP students who participate in the program each year are eligible for a UW Oshkosh TitanCard, which grants them access to Polk Library and computer labs at the University.

More than 30 Wisconsin high schools offer courses through CAPP, including everything from economics to Spanish, allowing students flexibility to advance in their subject of choice.

“We are well-known in Wisconsin,” Bowen said. “It’s fulfilling and rewarding that people in the field believe that our work is exemplary.”

For more information about enrolling in CAPP, visit www.uwosh.edu/capp or contact Bowen at (920) 424-0928.

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