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Utah students earned a record number of college credits during high school this past year, saving $48.7 million in future college tuition costs, according to a new joint report by Utah's public education and higher education systems.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah students earned a record number of college credits during high school this past year, saving $48.7 million in future college tuition costs, according to a new joint report by Utah's public education and higher education systems.

Utah high school students earned 268,357 credits in the 2017-18 school year through concurrent enrollment, a 15 percent increase over the prior year.

Some 36,335 students participated in current enrollment in 2017-18, which was a 10.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Concurrent enrollment enables Utah high school students to take college classes taught by college instructors at a deeply discounted cost. Students earn both college and high school credit with each class.

During the 2017-18 academic year, 169 traditional, charter and alternative high schools participated in the concurrent enrollment program. Students from 41 districts and 36 charter schools earned concurrent credit.

"We are proud of our educators who are encouraging more of their students to challenge themselves with college-level coursework," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.

"We know this will lead to more students entering and succeeding in higher education."

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David Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education, said concurrent enrollment is "a wonderful way for high school students to experience the rigor of a college class and earn college credit while in high school.

"We are pleased record numbers of high school students are taking advantage of this low-cost option, as it helps them save on their education and be better prepared once they reach college."

According to the report, credit earned for general education courses had the largest increase, with a 20.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Weber State University and Utah Valley University had the highest number of enrollments and most credit earned, the report states.