The impetus was simple: the University of Cincinnati asked itself, “How can we be successful partners with the greater community?” It found the answer in Cincinnati Public Schools, with the Withrow University High School of Business Pathway to UC’s Lindner College of Business.
Withrow’s mission is four-year college-focused, and it has the most dual-enrollment options of any Cincinnati Public School program, according to Withrow’s website. The new pathway program with UC will earn high school students college credit for the classes they take in their own high school, taught by their own business instructors, who work with faculty at UC’s Lindner College of Business, says Kendra Dewberry, Lindner’s assistant director of student recruitment and undergraduate program.
When students complete the coursework, they will have UC college credit, which they can use to start at the university or transfer to another college, as one would do with any existing collegiate transcripts.
“Selfishly, we are helping recruit students so they see the wonderful opportunities available in their own backyard,” Dewberry says. “It’s common to consider schools farther away, but they can have an amazing experience and take advantage of everything at UC,” an urban research university with Division I sports.
The first group of students to participate will graduate from Withrow this spring, and the 12 seniors in this accounting class will have that UC credit. As of early April, Lindner was still enrolling students for fall 2022, but Dewberry says that some students have expressed interested in sticking with UC. Next, the program will add entrepreneurship to its slate of classes, eventually adding economics, English, and math. While other schools have expressed interest in the program, Withrow is the only participating high school—for now.
The school district covers all program costs, Dewberry says, so it is free to students, right down to the books. It’s available to students in seventh through 12th grade, ideal for those with solid skills in problem solving and math who’d like a more rigorous curriculum and think they may be interested in business but want to test the waters before declaring a college major.
“Our program and programs like it are amazing,” she says. “It really opens up their possibilities.”