High school programs at BCCC saved families over $4 million last year
Beaufort County Community College has saved high school students between $4 million and $5.6 million in just one year according to a new report from the college. This is the amount that students saved by participating in Career and College Promise (CCP) or early college high schools–statewide dual-enrollment programs for high school students–versus attending a university. With these two programs, students can start taking college level classes while still enrolled in local high schools, all for free.
BCCC looked at the number of classes taken by students through the college during the 2017-2018 academic year and the 2018-2019 academic year and compared tuition and fees at low- and high-cost universities in North Carolina, as well as at BCCC. Through these two free programs, students and families saved about $854,000 in 2018-2019 in tuition and fees had they had to pay out-of-pocket at BCCC. In comparison to what the costs would have been at public universities in North Carolina for these same number of classes, families saved between $4 million and $5.6 million. BCCC had 332 students enrolled through CCP during the 2018-2019 year and 376 students enrolled through an early college high school. In both programs, classes are guaranteed to transfer to a public university in North Carolina under most circumstances.
“Not only are these programs helping our high school students perform better when they transfer to a university, but they are also putting these universities within the reach of local families,” said Jay Sullivan, Vice President of Academic Affairs at BCCC. “This is $4 million dollars that families in our community may not have had to spend on education. It is $4 million less debt that our students will carry. This investment in education by our lawmakers will only multiply as these students graduate, obtain higher paying positions and, because they are not saddled with student loan debt, purchase their first homes and reinvest in the local and state economies.”
High school students can access free college classes through a few avenues. The college has established early college high schools in all four of the counties in its service area. These include Beaufort County Early College High School, Columbia Early College High School, Mattamuskeet Early College High School and Washington County Early College High School. With early colleges, students attend for five years and receive a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Classes are offered through broadcast technologies, in-person or online. During the first two years, students take high school classes. During their junior and senior years, they begin college classes, with their final “super-senior” year consisting entirely of college classes. Students in early colleges are either hosted on BCCC’s main campus in Washington, are transported there by their county school system, or participate in classes through technology.
Career and College Promise (CCP) is open to all other high school juniors and seniors who meet certain criteria. BCCC has students from every private and public high school in the area, as well as homeschooled students. Students are paired with advisors at the college who help them balance their high school coursework with college classes.
Students can choose which program best suits them. CCP is ideal for students who want to participate in activities like band or sports which are not available at Beaufort County Early College High School. With early colleges, students go through these classes as more of a cohort, whereas with CCP, they may be the only one from their high school in a specific class.
“These programs are so popular that most of the top performing high school students in the county are students here at the college,” said Sullivan. “Our families are seeing this as a great option for them, whether their children are heading to ECU, App State or getting an associate’s degree with us. These dual-enrollment programs really have become the new normal, and with tremendous savings like these, it’s easy to see why.”