BROOKSVILLE – This year, 29 high school seniors will walk across the graduation stage and receive the second of 2 degrees they earned while attending Hernando County schools. By participating in the Dual Enrollment program, these students have earned both their high school diploma and an Associate of Arts Degree (AA) from Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC). With an increase of 8 students over last year’s 21 graduates, district leaders attribute the increase to strong academic advisement by certified school counselors.
“We know that the cost of sending children to college is a barrier for some families. By working together with our school principals, school counselors, teachers and our partners at PHSC, we implemented a more strategic approach that included a great awareness of academic options and good educational planning to make going to college an affordable option for students,” Supervisor of Secondary Programs for Hernando Schools, Dr. Marcia Austin said.
Dual Enrollment allows high school students to take college courses at the same time they complete requirements for their high school diploma. Hernando County School’s program partner is Pasco-Hernando State College. Each year, staff at PHSC and HCSD articulate detailed agreements to ensure students have a successful academic experience and reach graduation goals.
With 13 students, Weeki Wachee High School (WWHS) had the largest share of students earning their AA.
“Even as freshman, we work very purposefully with our students to map out their pathway to earning the college degree. By providing the maximum number of dual enrollment courses along with advanced placement courses, students are able to reach the 60 credits they need for the AA,” WWHS Principal Troy La Barbara said.
Graduates who complete their AA while in high school, save over $6,300.00 in tuition alone and thousands more in textbooks fees.
“Even if students are not certain what they wish to do after high school, by taking advantage of dual enrollment, they have confidence in their ability to tackle college coursework and a college degree to prove it,” Austin said.