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Post Secondary Education |Your Child's College Doesn't Have to Cost So Much

Updated on November 16, 2015

Why Pay For College When You Can Go For Free?

This young man is in college at age 16 and is only paying for parking.
This young man is in college at age 16 and is only paying for parking. | Source

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?

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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, ACT test fees, orientation and parking permits. No tuition, no books, no coursework fees, and most importantly....NO HOAX!

College Costs Are Sky High

How many of us are worried about paying for our child's college?

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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

Don't worry. You still participate in high school sports when you dual enroll.
Don't worry. You still participate in high school sports when you dual enroll. | Source

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?

Could your high school be the door to a more affordable college education?
Could your high school be the door to a more affordable college education?

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.

College is Becoming More and More Expensive


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    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you kindly Stvrich! Just trying to help when and where I can. Comments like yours help keep the wind in my sails!

    • stvrich profile image

      StvRich 2 years ago from East Rockaway - Long Island - Planet: Earth ~

      Wow, you write some good stuff. Very useful.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Great info! Thank you!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Marcy! I know. There are so many ways this can help so many different kids.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      Excellent information! The son of some close friends did this in Spokane, WA, and had quite a bit of college credit when he graduated. This helped overcome the gap in education most kids in my church experience when they take a break to serve a mission & then go back to college.

      Voted up & shared!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 3 years ago from Ohio

      @Hady - Please do. This is a gift to anyone who doesn't know about it and plans to go to college. Thanks for reading.

    • Hady Chahine profile image

      Hady Chahine 3 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      Useful information! It's too bad the PSEOP isn't more broadly advertised, like through mainstream media outlets. I will pass along your hub to a neighbor who's daughters are in high school. ~ Thanks for sharing.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 3 years ago from Ohio

      I wanted to comment here to say that my son has now completed a large portion of this program and it's been absolutely wonderful! He loves it, is succeeding and is a huge step ahead in completing his college education while saving 10's of thousands of dollars doing it.

      I'm a bit surprised this hub has done so poorly here and in searches. I hope more people learn of this. Don't expect your school to push the issue too much as I believe they lose a certain amount of funding to cover the college expenses. Not saying they will lie but perhaps more effort goes into selling the latest fundraiser.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 4 years ago from Ohio

      @Nettlemere - I hope so. It would be nice if education and health care in the world weren't ran so much like a Fortune 500 (or FTSE100) company.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      It will be interesting to see if similar schemes take off in the UK now that degree courses have high fees attached to them.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 4 years ago from Ohio

      @Angela - Mine is heading into his sophomore year and getting excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. Best of luck to him. If he is anything like my son, this may seem a bit intimidating but the payoff is just so could change a life. My nephew did this and now at age 20 is getting ready to graduate college with little debt and has been able to go part time and work his first 2 years out of school...much different than his friends fresh out of HS.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I am printing this for my son! We need to work toward this he will be a junior next year!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 4 years ago from Ohio

      Loans loans loans here too. Some grants and scholarships but many are small and tedious to obtain. I hope to hear that others find programs like this in there parts. I would think they exist??? Like life on other planets:-)

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

      Interesting and could prove useful to many. In the UK, we used to get free university, paid for by the government. We also got grants for living during that period. However, now they only normally give loans ... which is making education an expensive option!

      SOCIALLY SHARED and voted useful.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Daniel Robbins 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks. I have fam there in IN and used to spend a lot of time there for work. Anyhow, yeah, check with the school counselor if you haven't already. Perhaps he can tell you if it's under a different name or program there. Best of luck and thanks for reading.

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Great information, I can't seem to find any information pertaining to a similar program in Indiana, though it may be there just difficult to discover. This would be great seeing how I have 2 Sophomores and 5 other children that will each be in High School in coming years. On any note, thanks for the Hub.

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