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Dual Enrollment – Here We Come!

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How perfect for us to find out that not 1, not 2 but 3 of my kiddos will be attending college with NO out of pocket costs beginning in January during No Spend Month!

Sea Cadet

Sea Cadet will continue with his Advanced EMT program at the local technical college. He has completed the basic EMS courses and could technically get a job in it now. But plans to complete the Advanced Certification, which will take through August.

Sea Cadet and Hope

Sea Cadet and I at a recent family wedding

Because he (and History Buff) were a special needs adoption, the government kicks in to help pay for his college. Thusfar, the amount provided per semester has covered ALL expenses including tuition, books and even supplies (uniform, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, etc.) We anticipate that he will be able to complete this program with no out of pocket costs.

Princess

Most readers know that Princess is exceptionally bright AND she works very hard on her schoolwork. In preparation for what I thought would be a Fall, 2019 entrance to the dual enrollment program, I had her take the entrance exams (taken if the student has not taken the SAT or ACT yet.) I figured it would give me a baseline on what we needed to focus on to get her ready.

The advisor called last week with the surprise news that not only did Princess complete the normally 3-4 hours test in 1 hour and twenty minutes, but she passed at the highest level. She can begin taking Diploma level courses immediately. Can you say Proud Mom!?!

Princess ready for homecoming

I immediately registered her for two of the local colleges, because she is interested in two different programs. We received her acceptance email to one of them this past Friday and she will be registered for the Spring, 2019 semester as a dual enrolled high school student. She will be earning both high school and college credits and IT’S FREE!

Dual enrolled students can be registered for two different colleges and take up to 15 hours per semester during this dual enrollment time. She won’t graduate from high school until May, 2021. Just think about how much college she can have under her belt by then?

History Buff

History Buff has one more year of high school. He dropped out before completing the 1st semester of his senior year. While he has taken the ACT, he didn’t score high enough on the math part to presume acceptance to the dual enrollment program. He took the entrance exam for math last night and did well enough to start!

We have applied to the same two schools for him as we did for Princess. (Yes, I am definitely thinking about transportation for Princess.) Barring any problems with grades over the next couple of semesters, History Buff will graduate from high school December, 2019. And he could potentially have 30+ hours of college completed at no out of pocket cost.

Financial Goal

Since hearing about the opportunity for free dual enrollment in Georgia, it was an important factor in my decision to move and now stay here. Having my own student loan debt, I have always had a personal goal to get my kids through their advanced training (college or otherwise) with no debt.

And I realize that as a single mom and with my current financial status, I will not be able to really help them financially. But what I can do is guide them through wise financial decisions, apply for scholarships and grants and minimize the costs as much as possible.

The basic steps I/we are taking towards this are:

  • Encourage the kids to live at home as long as it makes sense logistically while in school.
  • Take advantage of as much FREE dual enrollment for each child as we can.
  • Apply for scholarships year round.
  • Make the kids be responsible for some part of their living expenses, and thus work a job. Learn to manage their money now before it becomes solely up to them.

Does your state offer free dual enrollment? Tell me your success stories when it comes to minimizing college costs.

 

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19 Comments

  • Reply Megan |

    I took many dual-enrolled classes in high school with my local community college and it was really helpful for getting many general education courses out of the way when I attended a 4 year college. I went into my first semester with the credits required to be considered a second semester sophomore. I could have graduated quite early but I opted instead to take on additional areas of study. It was honestly very helpful to me and would be even better taken advantage of by someone who had a set plan for their career goals going into college. I was still finding my way a little bit.

    If you have any sense of where the kids might go for further education, you could find out a bit about what these dual enrolled courses will “count” as at those schools by contacting the admissions department.

  • Reply Julie |

    You are super lucky! While there are programs for dual enrollment in Ny and my son is enrolled in one, it most certainly is not free. We were lucky enough to find one locally that offers a 2/3’s tuition discount for homeschoolers. With all the taxes we pay here you would think it would be free. I still feel okay with paying 1/3, at least its not full tuition amount. Would love a free option though. Could actually use some of the 5000+ a year we pay in county and school taxes.

  • Reply C |

    I ended up going to college with 21 credits thanks to earning some in high school. I knew what I wanted my bachelor’s in, and was able to graduate in 3 years. It was definitely super helpful to not have to pay for a fourth year of tuition, meal plan, and housing. And instead of paying for another year of college, I spent that year working in my first real job and therefore contributing to my 401k and paying down student debt. It really put me ahead compared to my peers!

    My best advice to your kiddos (based on my experience getting a BBA in Finance)-

    1. Try to get your science/lab credits required for your major complete in high school. I didn’t, and my lab course in college was much much harder than it would have been in high school.
    2. Talk to your future academic adviser. Lots of the advanced courses that will be required for your degree will have required prerequisite courses, which will also have required prerequisite courses. I ended up having to take an accounting course over a summer even though I had room left during the next semester because I needed the class complete in order to take a couple of other classes on my schedule. It can be super sneaky, so make sure to check and double check. I really didn’t want to have to stay an extra semester just to take one class because I didn’t plan well!
    3. Stay on top of email even before college starts. My roommate never checked her email…and therefore never got the notification that she needed to sign the promissory notes for her financial aid to disburse. She didn’t even know there was a problem until a couple days before classes were set to begin and ended up having to put the semester’s tuition on her parent’s credit card.

    • Reply Been There Done That |

      My eight nieces and nephews in Georgia kept their grades up and maintained the HOPE scholarship. All graduated with honors and it saved the family so much money!

  • Reply Pam E-P |

    Don’t forget CLEP tests. They are a good way to get some gen ed or language out of the way without having to invest the time in a class. If you’re particularly good in a subject, it’s a quick way to get credit and allow for taking another class for which there’s not a CLEP.

  • Reply debtor |

    wow, best score? that would be considered gifted and not just bright!

    Definitely look around and see what options there are for her to get exposure to different fields. That type of brain should not be wasted and there are soooo many opportunities i think people find our AFTER it’s too late. Top of my head, look into INROADS, SEO and see if they have any programming in your area. I’m not sure how close the nearest big city is to you.

  • Reply Misti Jeanelle Olszewski |

    Don’t forget the HOPE and Zell Miller Grants in GA when they do attend college as long as they have a B average tuition is free for all public colleges including UGA.

  • Reply OneFamily |

    My daughter did the dual enrollment while in high school. She graduated high school with her AA degree and then transferred to a university and got her bachelor’s by the time she was 20. It is such a huge money saver! Good for your kids!

  • Reply Walnut |

    Props to your kiddos! Another thing to consider is that college courses will open the doors for internships, which will give them insight into the real world, day to day routines of the careers they’re interested in. The best time to learn that you love or hate the day to day of a chosen path is before finishing a full degree!

  • Reply Marzy-d |

    I just want to mention that for really bright students like Princess, private college can be surprisingly affordable. If she were to get into Harvard, she would pay nothing if you are making less than 60k, and your contribution would be very minimal up to 125k. At my university, the brightest students of color are heavily recruited, and get very, very generous aid packages. Congrats all all the college enrollments!

    • Reply Georgia Girl |

      Co-signed! I mentioned below that both my daughter and I did Dual Enrollment (at different times, of course). After Dual Enrollment, we were both offered excellent scholarship packages to private colleges. My daughter just graduated with a name brand college degree that didn’t cost a cent, and was hired for a very well-paying job in her field before she even had her diploma in hand because of the connections the school offered.

      • Reply Kate |

        Yes. Most top colleges have need-based financial aid. A top liberal arts school could cost the same or less than a state school.

  • Reply Georgia Girl |

    Hope, that’s great for all of your kids! I did Dual Enrollment in Georgia back in the dark ages, and my daughter did it as well (she just graduated from college this spring). It’s fantastic and I’m so glad both of us did it! Something you want to keep in mind, and something to discuss with Princess’s academic advisors at both schools, is that Princess IS very young and has very little traditional schooling experience. Your sons are much closer to traditional college age and both had much more traditional school experience. With my daughter and I, we only went to one school and both had very strong programs to help Dual Enrollment kids and it HELPED so much. Encourage her to get involved with any Dual Enrollment groups on campus, or any club or extra-curricular that catches her interest.

  • Reply dh |

    Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

    My only concern is, it’s hard enough for young people to decide what they want to do at 18. And even harder for a 15YO.

    With Princess starting dual enrollment so early, how do you negotiate the fact that she may change her mind and want to do something completely different in 3 or 5 years?

  • Reply Marcy |

    On Facebook there is a very informative group called “Paying for College 101”. I highly recommend that anyone who has family members that are college-bound should join this FB group to learn the nuances of how to afford post-secondary education. Good luck!

  • Reply Jess |

    Yep, I agree with this. Especially since once she has earned 120-or so undergrad credits, the book is closed forever on (federal and most school) financial aid for undergrad, unless she’s in a program that requires more classes than normal. It’s one thing for her to get some gen ed type requirements over, but I would be careful about trying to get a full two years or something “done.” It honestly might backfire if she decides she’s really in love with x or y but she’s been focusing on z this whole time, even though she made that decision when she was 15. If she is academically talented, there’s value in giving her the opportunity to explore a bit but don’t accidentally close off opportunities further down.

    I also cosign that the very elite private institutions have excellent financial aid. I have no less than two friends who went to Princeton and never paid a cent (no loans, families weren’t responsible for anything). Their families were better off than your situation.

    I have a name brand undergrad degree and see the pros and cons of that route. I was able to do it with no debt and I don’t regret it. Now, I have finally figured out what I want to pursue (in my 30s) and am getting a master’s degree on the cheap from a public school. There are advantages to both places and I can really see the contrasts. My current school is great, I’m learning a ton and it’s a lot cheaper than similar programs in the area at private schools. I don’t regret not going into debt by getting another name-brand degree. But don’t automatically dismiss the boost that having a name brand on the resume gives or the network and resources that it provides during and after the college years.

So, what do you think ?