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$5 million gift from AEP funds Credits Count

The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation is funding a new pilot initiative with the Columbus State Community College Foundation to launch a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) dual enrollment program at Columbus City high schools.

Credits Count logoThe Credits CountSM program is expected to begin in fall 2014 at West High School and will expand to four additional high schools over the next five years. AEP will provide $1 million per year over five years to fund the program.

The announcement was made today at West High School in Columbus by President Harrison and Nicholas Akins, President and CEO of AEP. They were joined by Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

"Credits Count expands access to a college credential, ensures affordability for Columbus students and families, and aligns with regional career opportunities," said President Harrison. "This partnership will eliminate uncertainty by providing a planned pathway to college and career success."

Nicholas Akins

AEP CEO Nicholas Akins explains the Credits Count program at the press conference.

"This college and career success initiative will introduce middle school children to STEM experiences, improve college readiness through academic support services in high school, and engage prepared learners for college credit course work prior to graduation," said Kelly Hogan, professor in Developmental Education.

"The program will prepare graduates for the workforce with certificates targeted toward the regional job market, removing financial barriers for those who make the decision to pursue higher education and a more economically sound future."  Hogan will coordinate the program at the West High School pilot.

"Far too often, we hear of barriers such as the cost of tuition that keep our students from moving on to higher education and reaching their career aspirations," Akins said. "Our goal is to help students become fully prepared to graduate from high school ready for a career or with a significant number of credit hours toward a college education."
"AEP Foundation's $5 million investment is the largest gift ever made to Columbus State," said Pamela Bishop, executive director of the Columbus State Foundation.  "The impact of AEP's generosity will change kids' lives and aligns perfectly with Columbus State's mission.  We are grateful for AEP's support and excited to get to work on Credits Count."

Major components of Credits Count:

  • Middle school STEM experiences to engage students as early as possible in college exploration for STEM-related careers;
  • College course readiness assessments to identify gaps in writing, math and reading that may need tutoring support;
  • Summer bridge program to provide any needed English and math remediation prior to students entering the dual enrollment program;
  • Dual enrollment in high school and at Columbus State, allowing students to graduate high school with at least 12 college credits in STEM-related fields including energy, the environment and information technology.


Dr. Harrison addresses guests at today's announcement of the Credits Count program at West High School, which will be the first school to test the program.

meets with students

President Harrison and Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, (back at left) greet students at West High School after the press conference.