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Early college director to enhance high school opportunities at the U

The U is adding more resources — and an inaugural director of early college programs — to its quest to increase access to college-level credits for Utah high schoolers.

Nicole Butler

While the U has long offered students opportunities to take courses for a reduced rate of $5 per credit hour through the High School University Program, it’s time to expand those possibilities, said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management. That’s where Nicole Butler comes in. When she arrives on campus in late June as the U’s first early college programs director, her first order of business will be to share the High School University Program with as many Utah schools as possible and expand the scope of pre-college enrollment at the U.

“Participating in early college enrollment increases college-going rates and helps students graduate faster once they come to school,” Robinson said. “It helps with the cost of school if you already have credit hours, and if students can graduate faster, they can have higher employment gains.”

Butler plans to optimize the U’s existing early college programs and build new ones as she works with all stakeholders in the enrollment process, including high school students and administrators. Butler previously was the continuing education program administrator and concurrent enrollment program administrator at Weber State University. She is the former academic director of Catalyst Preparatory Academy and an adjunct instructor at several higher education institutions in Utah.

“I am so excited about all of the potential good this growth in the U’s mission will create for the young scholars of Utah,” Butler said. “I look forward to finding new pathways for high school students to access the benefits of a university education.”

The High School University Program accepts high school sophomores through seniors to allow them to take college-level coursework and get a head start on their college career for significantly less money. High school students throughout Utah are invited to apply to the program, no matter which school they are attending.