Island University and Premont ISD Partner to Offer Dual Credit Program

By Luisa Buttler | Published: April 08, 2021

Island University and Premont ISD Partner to Offer Dual Credit Program

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – High school students enrolled in Premont Independent School District will soon be able to earn dual credit from Premont ISD and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi thanks to a new agreement signed on April 7.

The Islander Academy is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s dual credit program. It not only prepares students to make a smooth transition from high school to college, but it also provides challenging coursework in a supportive, multicultural learning community, and reduces the time it takes to complete a college degree, all at a reduced tuition rate.

“Years ago, we began The Islander Academy with a dream to be able to offer dual credit courses to high school students, particularly first-generation college students,” TAMU-CC President and CEO Dr. Kelly M. Miller said. “We are excited for Premont students to not only work with our faculty, but we are equally excited for them to meet other Islanders and see everything the university has to offer.”

In fall 2021, it is expected that 75 Premont High School students will be enrolled in The Islander Academy. Those students will travel by bus two days a week from the rural Jim Wells County community to TAMU-CC to take classes. The 90-minute drive will not be time wasted, said Premont Superintendent Steve VanMatre '86, '03. The Wi-Fi enabled bus will allow students to study, complete assignments, and even take online classes while on the road.

“It’s a big investment for our high school students to get up and be on a bus at 7 a.m. – that’s having some skin in the game,” said VanMatre, a two-time Islander alumnus. “We are always looking for opportunities that are somewhat nontraditional and progressive because the quality of a rural student is just as high as the quality of an urban and suburban student. They should have similar opportunities.”

Once they graduate, the core curriculum credits earned by Premont dual credit students can be applied at TAMU-CC or at many other state institutions.

“We are very hopeful that the Premont students remain Islanders, but more importantly, we hope that students who take part in this academy go on to college somewhere,” Miller said. “We want to see them continue their education and inspire them to take that next step in their academic experience and career.”

Makayla Ropdriguez makes a speech at the signing of the dual credit program.
Makayla Rodriguez makes a speech at the dual credit
program signing.

Premont High School student Makayla Rodriguez will be attending TAMU-CC in the fall. The 17-year-old junior says she wants to continue her education at the Island University once she receives her high school diploma.

“My goal is to earn a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing while also preparing to become a registered nurse,” Rodriguez said. “I believe the partnership between Premont ISD and A&M-Corpus Christi will definitely set the path of a bright future not only for myself but for my fellow Premont Collegiate Scholars. The doors continue to open for us.”

Students in dual credit courses are eligible to utilize the same or similar support services of traditional students including the library, tutoring, and disability services. TAMU-CC also provides a designated academic advisor who will meet individually with the high school students.

“Not only will dual credit students be a part of our learning communities, they will also get the opportunity to engage in campus life and really feel comfortable on a college campus,” Miller said. “They will be confident knowing that when it’s time to go on to college, they can succeed.”

Along with Premont ISD, the Island University also partners with Corpus Christi College Preparatory High School, Flour Bluff ISD, London ISD, and Santa Gertrudis ISD to offer dual credit courses.