Post Secondary Education |Your Child's College Doesn't Have to Cost So Much
Why Pay For College When You Can Go For Free?
The Best Way To Save For College Is To Go For Free
Perhaps dual enrollment is something you've heard of. Perhaps I was the only one in the dark. Then again, I like to think I'm a pretty alert person and if I didn't know this was available, perhaps neither did you.
Dual enrollment programs may be the key to not only obtaining free college, but to open doors to better colleges, scholarships, and college grants for my high school student and yours after high school.
The program I'm speaking of is offered in over 80% of US high schools, is typically funded by a combination of the local school system and the state it's in and is NOT so hard to get into that you have to be a genius to figure it out or take part.
If you're in the same boat as I am, wondering how you will ever get your child through college without going broke, please read on. This might be the single most important program your high school student ever gets involved in.
Planning for Your Child's College Education
Do You Already Know About Dual Enrollment?
What is dual enrollment?
Dual enrollment or credit is a program that offers your child a college education while enrolled in high school. (Here in Ohio it's referred to as the Post Secondary Enrollment Option Program or PSEOP) Basically, they can attend college courses (whether at a nearby university or in their own high school) in place of their regular high school courses and receive credit for both. They must still meet the criteria of the high school requirements to graduate but can do so by taking college classes and earning college credit at the same time. And did I mention that it's FREE!?
Of the colleges I've researched in my area, the only cost to the the student is that of the application, test fees, orientation and parking permits. No tuition, no books, no coursework fees, and most importantly....NO HOAX! ACT
College Costs Are Sky High
How many of us are worried about paying for our child's college?
Prepare for Your ACT Test
You Don't Have to be a Genius to Save Money on College
Each college and high school will have slightly different requirements for students to participate in a concurrent enrollment program. I've found the following ranges to be "par" for a junior or senior in high school hoping to enter the program involving a local university. (Minimum requirements seem to be a bit higher for a high school freshman or sophomore.)
- Intent to Participate Form (Provided to high school by March of preceding year)
- Consent from your high school counselor or principal
- Parental Consent
- Overall ACT score above 20 (typically 22 or 23 for a reputable university)
- Combined SAT score ranging from 1070 to 1110 (optional)
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0 - 4.0 (Again depending on the university)
- Admission Application and Fee
- Letters of Recommendation from 2 High School Teachers
NOTE: These requirements are typically set forth by the university if involved, not the local school. Of course like I said, you still have to satisfy the high school's graduation requirements. So, you can see the student can't be struggling in school but doesn't have to be a genius either to take advantage of this opportunity.
Transferring Dual Enrollment Credits
The transferring of dual enrollment credits largely depends on the 2 schools involved. Mainly, the school you are wanting to attend and how they view the institution from which you are trying to transfer credits from. If you believe you will be aiming for a specific school after high school graduation, you may want to check with them so you pick the right classes and university to participate in the program with. You don't want to waste time taking classes in a school whose credits won't translate into college savings.
High School Athletics Are No Problem
Save Money, Get a Jump-Start on College, but Consider This
Whether or not your student meets the requirements of the program is the first consideration of course but there are some things you'll want to consider beyond that.
These ARE college level courses, often with college age students in a college environment, not a high school. No special accommodations are made for your high school student in the college classroom. They are expected to put forth the same effort as any other college student and behave as a mature young adult. If the student fails a college course, they too then fail the high school course and are required to repay the college fees associated with the course to their local school district.
Transportation is to be provided for the student by the student or student's family, not the local school or college if they have to commute between the two. Depending on how many credit hours are taken, the student may be solely in college courses or splitting their day between college and high school courses. This can also impact their participation in high school activities such as sports, band, etc... Transportation plays a big part in why most students in the program are juniors and seniors. Freshman and sophomore age students may be overcome by the workload and subject to topics and conversations geared toward the older college student, not the public school system.
Benefits of Being Dual Enrolled
Did I mention it was free? Okay, I know it's getting cliched but really...this is the equivalent of 1 or 2 years of college at little cost to you or your child. In today's terms, that's somewhere in the range of $15,000 - $40,000 in savings depending on the college. No loans, no interest, no grants, just straight savings.
There are other benefits that can't be forgotten.
- Better resume for attending a more prestigious college later
- Graduating college ahead of schedule which leads to getting into the field or career ahead of thousands of others seeking the same job opportunities
- Increased odds of being awarded grants and scholarships due to a record of college success
The list goes on but really, need I say more?
Find Out About The Dual Enrollment Options Your School Has From Your Guidance Counselor
I know, this just sounds too easy and too good to be true but I assure you, it's not. This is a real program with real benefits that could potentially change your child's life. My son is a junior, has taken 4 college courses at a notable university and I've spent roughly $300. He is only a part time participant this year as we felt it was best to get his "feet wet" and see how it went. We couldn't be more pleased. He absolutely loves being involved in the program, in turn has become an even better student than he was. Next year he will attend the university full time, still enrolled as a senior at his local school so he can maintain his athletics but never attending for classes. Assuming nothing unforeseen happens, he will graduate high school and be part way through his sophomore year at college with no debt and having only spent approximately $1,000 over the course of 2 years.
I strongly encourage you to talk with your child's high school guidance counselor to get the information packets, forms, and details about this program or one similar in your state. Talk with them about what requirements your child has to meet for high school graduation and how the college courses you choose must fit their curriculum. They can also provide guidance on how the college credits they accumulate in the program can transfer to other colleges later.