http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/01/BA061C7TVG.DTL San Francisco high school students, just months out of middle school, can start earning San Francisco State college credit this fall through a ninth-grade ethnic studies course. Currently, five ethnic studies courses are offered at three high schools, but they offer only high school credits. The school board voted to expand the ethnic studies program last week, increasing the number of courses to at least 10 sections at five high schools. To help with the added costs associated with expanding the program, San Francisco State offered to help train district teachers and assist with developing curriculum. At a school board meeting last week, the head of the university's Ethnic Studies program also promised that students would earn up to six college course credits for the high school freshman course - a rare opportunity for a 14-year-old. The courses will become part of the California State University's Step to College program, which has offered college credit for high school students across the state since 1985. Most of those courses require students to be juniors or seniors. ........ Students cannot fail the class. They either receive a "pass" grade or are withdrawn from the course if it appears they cannot pass, Perea said.