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Dual enrollment making college more attainable

More students can now go to high school and graduate with both a diploma and an Associate’s Degree.

It’s called the Early College High School Program and it’s a joint effort between the Alleghany County Public Schools and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

The goal?

To offer new options to get more students excited about higher learning.

“Our students at Alleghany High School are able to enroll in this program where in May they would graduate, the seniors would graduate, with their high school diploma and their Associates Degree,” Alleghany School Superintendent Gene Kotulka, told Your Hometown News Leader.

That means the first two years of college are under their belts, before they even leave these halls.

“Our two curriculum departments have worked together to come up with a program and it’s a program in general studies and it’s really based on the humanities,” Kotulka said.

The idea is to have that program work like the region’s Governor’s School but instead of STEM, there’s a concentration on general studies.

“We like to provide our students many different pathways and this provides certain students a pathway to achieve what they want to do. This pathway is not designed for every student, it’s designed for certain students just like the Governor’s School,” said Kotulka.

Dr. John Rainone is the president of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and was a key part of making this happen.

“We know that by 2020 two thirds of all jobs are going to require a post secondary degree education and preferably an Associates Degree.”

And through this program, college becomes more affordable.

“It’s basically a thousand dollars over two years to earn the Associates Degree,” Rainone told WDBJ7.

School leaders say that with room and board, that could be a savings of over $40,000 dollars. For now the goal is simple.

“My hope is that every student who graduates from high school realizes that college is a possibility for them,” Rainone said.

The instructors who teach dual enrollment classes are trained and certified to teach both high school and college courses.

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