Foresight and determination

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Two weeks before their high school graduation ceremonies, nine seniors from Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools have already received their associate degrees.

Working in the dual enrollment program offered by Paul D. Camp Community College and Suffolk Public Schools, the students — Victoria Aberle, Imani Garde, D’Avion Godwin, Tallyah Larrymore, Jevedia Martin, DeVon Morris, Aaliyah Simms, Derek Leggett and Tamia Copeland — were able to complete the general educational classes needed for associate degrees at the same time they were taking high school classes. By doing so, they will be able to enroll in college and focus their efforts on classes specific to their majors, reducing the time they will need to spend in college, in most cases, to just two years.

“It’s a big relief, knowing that you got all your general education studies out of the way,” said DeVon Morris, who attends Lakeland High School. “When you get to your university, you can jump right into your major studies. It saves a lot of money, too.”

Email newsletter signup

Morris is right. The program has huge potential to save students money.

Even considering only the simple fact that community-college credits are usually significantly cheaper than those of traditional colleges and universities, the more credits a student can take at a community college, the better. In fact, a document on the King’s Fork High School Guidance Department’s web page states that dual enrollment students can save as much as $28,000 in tuition and fees over the cost of a traditional college program.

Dual enrollment costs for Suffolk students are expected to rise in the coming year. A document on the Suffolk Public Schools website notes that summer courses will be charged at $150 per semester, with a $300 charge for year-long courses. That’s up from the $100 per class that Suffolk students had been charged.

But even if the cost of dual enrollment courses rose to $500 per class, as had been considered in December, according to a story in the Virginian-Pilot, the savings could still be substantial. Add in the cost of living in a different city for two years, and the savings mount even more.

Congratulations to these nine students for having the foresight and the determination to get a jump start on their college education.