Saving Money with Dual Credit Classes: Free College Tuition is Possible

Many high school students have experienced AP classes, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment. This year, more are opting for dual credit than ever before.

Students are always looking for ways to get scholarships and pay less for college. Dual credit classes are becoming a very popular method to save on college expenses. Because college may cost much more due to the recent economic downturn, it is more important than ever before to find creative methods to pay for college.

Dual Credit Classes

Students may earn double credit for some classes taken in high school. While taking one class, a student may receive both high school credit and college credit. How does this work? In most instances, the instructor must have a Master’s degree to qualify for students receiving college credit. And, the college that is giving the credit must approve the curriculum and the instructor. The public school pays the tuition to the college giving the student college credit without paying tuition.

Ambitious students may accumulate one or even two years of college credit prior to graduation from high school and enter college as sophomores or juniors. This is a great savings to the students and parents. With college tuition costs rising each year, many are opting to earn college credit prior to going to college.

Students Taking Dual Credit More Likely to Attend College

Once a student has completed college credit classes, he or she is more likely to attend college. To many students, this is seen as a trial run. After a few dual credit classes, students are encouraged to take more classes at the college level and view a college degree as possible.

Charter Schools Offer Free College Tuition

A popular new option for earning college tuition at no cost is the charter school. College credits are offered to high school students with the stipulation that they are still high school students. So, charter school students take high school classes necessary for graduation, experience high school graduation with peers, but do not receive a high school diploma at that time. These students may attend a local junior college at no cost to them and when a degree is achieved, students receive both an A.A. and high school diploma.

A charter school experiencing large enrollment is located in Storm Lake, IA. The high school there is a pilot program and the numbers are growing each year. For the 2015-2016 year, a charter school coordinator was hired to ensure all students were processed successfully. There seems to be no end to applicants and other schools are studying the Storm Lake model with hopes of implementing a charter school, also.

Traditional Advanced Placement Classes

Many schools offer Advanced Placement classes within the high school walls at minimal cost. The College Board, the agency that monitors AP classes, has rigorous standards for AP classes. A syllabus must be followed, teacher must be approved and students must take an official AP test and receive scores between three and five. Upper level colleges only accept scores of four and five. Contact the Advanced Placement coordinator at the high school for more information.

High School Students on a College Campus

In the past, students could take college classes on a local college campus for college credit. The high school picked up the tab for the tuition. Some students still opt for this method of earning college credits but the numbers are decreasing because of dual credit offerings.

While college tuition is rising each year at both public universities and private colleges, students may cut off one and even two years of college expenses by taking advantage of dual credit classes, charter schools and AP classes.