More high school students saving on college credits

GRANTHAM, Pa. (WHTM) – Local students are saving thousands of dollars on college before they graduate high school.

Dual enrollment programs are growing at dozens of districts and area colleges each year. Students can take college courses and earn credits at just 10 percent of a normal class price.

Joseph Keller was involved in a dual enrollment program before he entered Messiah College.

“I did about six classes that way,” Keller said.

Keller says he saved at least $15,000 before his freshman year in college. Each class would now cost Keller about $4,000, but back then he paid just a few hundred per course.

“That’s a 90 percent discount,” said John Chopka, Messiah College’s vice president of enrollment.

It’s the same savings Messiah offers its area high schoolers.

“Just a few years ago, we had maybe 20 or 30 students,” Chopka said. “It’s grown just a few years to 120.”

HACC now teaches almost 5,000 Midstate students at its various campuses.

“Next year, we will have well over 250 students taking college-level HACC courses through our articulation agreement,” Cumberland Valley superintendent Dr. Fred Withum said.

HACC partners with 70 districts in Central Pennsylvania.

“If those parents were paying for those exact same credits the day after their graduation, it would cost those 250 kids about $150,000 more collectively,” Withum said.

If you’re looking to get your kids involved, start by talking to your school guidance counselor.

“The counselor is going to know if the student has the aptitude and is ready for college-level coursework,” Chopka said.

Messiah requires a 3.0 GPA, a letter of recommendation from the guidance counselor, and a parent signature.

HACC requires guidance counselor recommendations and a placement test prior to enrollment.

Those who have been through the program say the payoff is closer than you think.

“I’ll be graduating December 2018, which is about a year and a half early,” Keller said.

Online

HACC’s dual enrollment program: https://www.hacc.edu/NewStudents/Apply/HighSchoolStudents/Dual-Enrollment.cfm

Messiah’s dual enrollment program: http://www.messiah.edu/info/20102/dual_enrollment

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