The end of the academic year at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, brings an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the successes of our students. Kayla Berger, Gabriel Eaton-Landau and Michael Riggs were among hundreds of students recognized at HACC’s Commencement ceremony on May 9, at the Giant Center in Hershey. All three earned associate degrees from HACC prior to earning their high school diplomas.

Kayla and Michael, seniors at Gettysburg Area High School, and Gabriel, a home-schooled student, enrolled in HACC’s Dual Enrollment Program beginning in their junior year of high school. Through HACC’s Dual Enrollment Program, high school students may take one or more college courses for which they will receive both high school and college credits. These young graduates took far more than one college course during their high school career!

Prior to their junior year, all three students met with a HACC admissions counselor to identify a pathway that would allow them to take 61 college credits during their junior and senior years of high school. While taking classes at Gettysburg Area High School, HACC’s Gettysburg Campus and online, these students still found time to work and maintain high school activities and friendships.

Now, with an associate degree in hand, all three will continue their education in the fall. Gabriel will be going to York College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Kayla to Penn State Mont Alto for a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Michael to Oklahoma State University for a dual degree in animal science and agricultural education.

Gabriel, Kayla and Michael are bright, determined and dedicated students who are examples of hard work paying off. After realizing what they could accomplish as dual-enrollment students, each set a goal of earning a high school diploma and a college degree.

Not all high school students will be drawn to the option of taking 61 college credits during their last years of high school, but dual enrollment is a great way to take courses that are not available at their high school, experience college life, learn from award-winning faculty and, of course, save time and money.

Tuition rates for dual-enrolled students for fall 2019 are $125 per credit hour, which is less than half of HACC’s non-sponsored in-state tuition rate. Families can use savings from their 529 plans to pay for the cost of these courses. Additionally, scholarships and financial assistance are available, including assistance for high school students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Are you ready to earn a HACC degree or credential before graduating from high school? Enrollment for summer and fall classes is open now! For more information, please contact your high school guidance counselor; call HACC’s admission counselors, Andrea Lazarus or Sara Maines, at 717-337-3855; or visit hacc.edu/collegepathways.

Shannon Harvey is the vice president at the Gettysburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College.

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