Quad City area high school students can get a jump start on university STEM-related courses and prepare for university-based programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and more. They can take coursework on campus and online, meet faculty and students, and take advantage of tuition discounts and the four-year guarantee if they enroll at Western Illinois University. The dual enrollment course pathway can lead to programs based at either the Macomb or Quad Cities campus.

According to WIU Undergraduate Admissions Associate Director Katy Gorsuch, many high school students are eager to start college courses while still in high school, and the WIU dual enrollment STEM program provides them with an early start.

“There are so many terrific benefits for students who participate in this program, from getting a head start on university coursework at a discounted rate to connecting with faculty mentors and gaining valuable experiences that prepare them for college,” said Gorsuch.

This fall, a grant will cover the remaining one-third of tuition costs for two classes, for up to 125 students from McDonough, Hancock, Warren, Knox, Brown, Adams, Schuyler, Henderson, Fulton, Cass, Mercer, Henry, Rock Island and Whiteside counties. Students can take two WIU classes at no cost during the Fall 2022 semester, excluding the costs of the course, textbooks and materials.

Western Illinois University will feature three STEM courses during the fall semester in flexible formats that fit with high school schedules, including:

  • Engineering (ENG) 105, offered on-campus Tuesday and Thursday, from 3:30-5:15 p.m. in WIU-QC Riverfront 122 
  • Physics (PHYS) 101, offered online, asynchronous 
  • Statistics (STATS) 171, offered online, asynchronous 

Additional courses are also available in flexible times and formats.

“Foundational courses in physics, engineering and mathematics are designed to prepare you to think like a professional working in the STEM fields,” said Department of Physics Chair Kishor Kapale. “This set of courses are students’ gateway into their future careers as STEM professionals as they are made aware of all the possibilities that exist.”

According to a 2021 Illinois Community College Board study, high school students who took advantage of dual enrollment opportunities had a 20% higher graduation rate over those who did not. To assist students with the transition from high school to college, and to reduce the cost of higher education, WIU offers several options for area students, including taking courses both on campus and online.

“Taking dual enrollment classes in high school helped me save thousands of dollars on my education and allowed me to get an entire year ahead in my undergraduate degree. I am now going into my second year at WIU as a junior in college. It was the best choice I ever made,” said Alix Potter, a junior Law Enforcement and Justice Administration major.

Since 2017, high school students from the Quad Cities area, Cambridge, Illini West (Carthage, IL), Macomb, West Prairie, Bushnell-Prairie City, VIT, Rushville-Industry, Southeastern, Unity (Mendon, IL), West Central, Galva, Cuba, Hamilton and ROWVA high schools have had the opportunity to take classes online and at WIU’s Macomb and/or Quad Cities campuses.

“Western Illinois University is dedicated to creating innovative educational pathways that inspire students to pursue and accomplish their goals. High school students who participate in Western’s early admission program have a unique and affordable opportunity to experience university life and explore high quality academic programs and career interests right here in the Quad Cities” said Vice President of Quad Cities Campus Operations Kristi Mindrup.

Students interested in WIU dual enrollment STEM opportunities can contact Gorsuch at KL-Gorsuch@wiu.edu or wiu-qc-admissions@wiu.edu. High school administrators interested in creating dual enrollment opportunities can contact Mindrup at ks-mindrup@wiu.edu.