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PHCC waives tuition for Patrick dual enrollment students
Monday, January 14, 2013
Patrick County students will be able to gain college credit without charge while still attending high school beginning this fall.
The Patrick school division announced Friday that it had entered into a dual enrollment partnership arrangement with Patrick Henry Community College.
Under dual enrollment, qualified students may take college courses at the same time they take high school classes, a news release from the division states. That allows graduates to enter college with credits — sometimes as many as two years’ worth — already earned, saving both time and money, the release adds.
PHCC has offered dual enrollment for the past 20 years, but those students paid part of their college tuition. This new agreement will pay for all their tuition, the release states.
“The goal is to allow families to plan better for a college education while reducing the overall costs through the PHCC dual enrollment program with local schools,” said Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC president.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, average annual tuition and fees in 2011-2012 at public four-year colleges were more than $8,000, while community college tuition and fees averaged just under $3,000. Earning an associate degree at a community college before transferring to a senior institution can save a student thousands of dollars in tuition. Students who complete courses through dual enrollment can save even more, according to the release.
Patrick School Superintendent Roger Morris said the state will reimburse PHCC for each student. PHCC then will give that money to the Patrick school division, which will use it to pay the student’s tuition at the community college, he said. The county schools also will pay for students’ books and fees at PHCC, he added.
Currently, students may take dual enrollment courses and have the opportunity to graduate with an associate degree or career certificate from PHCC in addition to their high school diploma through the D-Squared program.
The D-Squared program helped students be college and career ready as they leave high school. Two years ago, the Patrick schools expanded that program to include a science option.
In addition to tuition assistance and the D-Squared program, school officials have plans to expand dual enrollment course offerings at Patrick County High School. Through discussions with local organizations and community partners, school officials determined a need to offer more courses to prepare students to enter the workforce.
Beginning next fall, Patrick County schools will offer dual enrollment courses in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department. Examples of new dual enrollment classes include agriculture, culinary arts, Teacher Cadet program, cosmetology, nursing and engineering.
According to Doug Perry, Patrick County High School parent and civil operations specialist with the Virginia National Guard, “This program will be a great opportunity for students. It provides our students with an advantage when competing with other college applicants, sets them up for success, and provides a smoother transition as they move into a full-time college or university experience.”
Perry and his wife, Linda, have two children: Jason, a junior at the high school who currently participates in the program, and Sarah, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who participated in the program in previous years.
Morris said the free dual enrollment program is the result of five years of conversations with the community college.
“We are very excited about being able to work with PHCC to provide a free college degree program for our students,” he said. “We are also pleased that we will partner to expand dual enrollment into program areas that will enable us to offer more high-quality career-ready classes. Personally, this is something I have looked forward to for a long time.”