Earlier this week, the Auditor of State (AOS) issued a bulletin about auditing schools for compliance with the College Credit Plus (CCP) program. Effective with audits for the 2022-23 school year, AOS is requiring auditors to test schools for compliance with the CCP requirements in Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3365.04.

CCP allows Ohio middle and high school students to enroll at a college, on a full- or part-time basis, and complete nonsectarian, nonremedial courses while earning credit for both high school and college. CCP classes at Ohio public universities and colleges, and related books and fees, are free for students who attend public schools. Both public and nonpublic schools can participate in CCP.

According to AOS Bulletin 2023-001, AOS will publish the compliance requirements and testing procedures related to RC 3365.04 in Chapter 4 of the 2023 Ohio Compliance Supplement, which should be available in May. In order to be eligible for an AOS award, a school must be compliant with the requirements.

The bulletin includes a list of items RC 3365.04 requires of public schools for compliance. Among the items AOS auditors will be testing for are whether schools are:

  • Providing information about CCP to all students enrolled in grades 6 through 11 prior to Feb. 1 of each year.
  • Providing counseling services to students in grades 6 through 11, and their parents, before they are fully aware possible benefits and consequences of participation, including consequences of failing or not completing CCP courses, effect of CCP grades being included in a student’s grade point average, and benefits of successfully completing CCP courses. Counseling should also include information on:
    • CCP eligibility.
    • Process for granting academic credits.
    • Necessary financial arrangements for tuition, textbooks and fees.
    • Criteria for transportation aid.
    • Available support services.
    • Scheduling.
    • Academic and social responsibilities of students and parents.
    • Information about and encouragement to use counseling services of the college or university.
    • Information about the potential for mature subject matter in courses in which the student intends to enroll in the CCP program, including notification that classes will not be modified based on CCP enrollee participation. RC 3365.035(A) defines “mature subject matter” as “any course subject matter or material of a graphic, explicit, violent, or sexual nature.”
    • The permission slip developed by the Ohio Departments of Education and Higher Education regarding the potential for mature subject matter in CCP courses.
  • Providing the standard packet of information developed by the Chancellor of Higher Education pursuant to RC 3365.15.
  • Promoting the CCP program on the school’s website, including details about the school’s current agreements with partnering colleges or universities.
  • Scheduling at least one informational session each school year to allow participating colleges within 30 miles of the school to meet with interested students and parents.
  • Implementing a policy for awarding grades and calculation of class standing for CCP courses.
  • Developing model course pathways and publishing course pathways among the schools official list of course offerings for the program (RC 3365.13).
  • Collecting, reporting and tracking, on an annual basis, data related to CCP (RC 3365.15).

AOS Bulletin 2023-001 includes sample audit procedures and encourages schools to use the sample procedures as an opportunity to self-assess compliance with CCP requirements. If issues are identified, the AOS bulletin recommends that schools “take steps to remedy and self-correct noncompliance issues prior to the beginning of their 2022-2023 school year audit.” The bulletin states that schools that self-correct CCP noncompliance with RC 3365.04(E) prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year audits will remain eligible for an AOS award if award criteria are otherwise met.

The legal division will continue to monitor this area and provide more information as it is available. General questions can be directed to the division at (855) 672-2529 or (855) OSBA-LAW. More information about CCP is available from the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Higher Education. Questions about AOS Bulletin 2023-001 should be directed to the Center for Audit Excellence at (800) 282-0370 or contactus@ohioauditor.gov.

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 4/21/2023