Page 16 - USA Today College Guide 2019
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As many Americans struggle with student debt a growing number of college-bound teen- agers have found a a a a a way to sidestep as much as $44 000 in tuition expense on average — and the loans that often go along with it it Enrollment is growing in in early college programs which allow high school students to take college courses in 11th and 12th grade po- tentially cutting the time and money spent at four-year institutions in in half All official early college programs are public The early college high school initia- tive started in 2002 at Guilford College
in in Greensboro North Carolina and began with fewer than 200 students Today the program serves hundreds of thousands of of students at hundreds of of early college high schools according to Jobs for the Future a a nonprofit geared toward providing educational opportu- nities nities for underserved communities “Early college education is growing more popular by the year ” says Maria Beggs a a a a teacher at Stockton Early Col- lege Academy in Stockton California “If students follow the required track they may be able to graduate from high school with their (associate) degree or just transfer to a a university as a a a a freshman with junior standing ” The schools are significantly cheaper than other pre-college high school programs including dual enrollment programs and commu- nity college courses which can cost thousands of dollars “That makes a a a huge difference for low-income students students and students students underrepresented in higher educa- tion ” says Joel Vargas vice president of school and learning designs at the nonprofit Jobs for the Future “They don’t have to overcome the hurdles ” he says referring to tuition costs “They’ve been removed ” The stakes are high Tuition
at four-year public colleges and universities averaged $16 650 in 2017 while tuition at at private colleges and universities averaged $32 410 a a a a year During the 2015-2016 school year the average student graduated with $29 500 in student loan debt up
from $25 700 in 2014 The schools in in the initiative were funded largely by the Gates Founda- tion through grants up
until 2012 Between 2001 and 2004 the organiza- tion donated over $124 million “Early college gave me the privilege of time and resources to figure out what makes me tick before being thrown into an institution filled with an overwhelming number of oppor- tunities ” says Meghana Iragavarapu a a a a a graduate of the Early College
at at Guilford program who is now at Duke University The proven ability to handle
college-level work and responsibili- ties is also attracting the notice of admissions officers at universities and colleges Frank Thomas Rechichi assistant director of admissions at the Rochester Institute of Technology visits high schools in New York as part of his job including the Bard early college high school programs in Queens and Manhattan He says early college students stand out during the admissions process often landing scholarships Even those who don’t get credits transferred can use the time to figure out what they want to do “It is less expensive in time and money to change your mind at the high school early college level than at RIT ” Rechichi says 16 COLLEGE
GUIDE 2019

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