WJTV News Channel 12 - More high school students enrolling at PCC for college credit

More high school students enrolling at PCC for college credit

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. - The cost of higher education is on the rise, but with help from local community colleges, more high school students are getting a cheaper jump start on their college career.

The average price tag for just one year at a public university costs students more than $18,000, according to the College Board. It’s just one reason why more high school students are turning to Pitt Community College’s Career and College Promise Program.

"It’s free tuition, I can't turn that down," says D.H. Conley senior Michael Hudson.

This spring semester, 321 high school students enrolled in a PCC course, which equates to a 10 percent jump from last semester.

Through the program, teenagers earn college credit or obtain entry-level job skills through online courses and traditional classroom settings. Classes are free, as teens only have to pay for books and a small student fee. 

But Hudson says it's about more than just saving money.

“You can go ahead and get a taste of college and get used to it and learn how to deal with your specific learning style in a college environment before you get to college," he says.

Alton Wadford, PCC’s director of high school programs and cooperative education, agrees it gives students a good idea of what college will be like.

“So it is a transition period for them and helps them to be more prepared as they come here as a traditional student,” Wadford says.

The program offers a wide range of courses accepted at all UNC-system schools, while also encouraging students to return to PCC.  Out of about 1,400 Pitt County high school graduates last year, 402 enrolled this fall, including Katherine Taylor. 

"It prepares you a lot because all these classes are a lot tougher than any high school class you're going to take,” she says.

Tougher, yes, but more students are willing to step up to the challenge now if it means being better prepared and saving on tuition later.

Registration for fall semester at PCC kicks off in mid-April. Parents and high school students can learn more on PCC’s website, or ask the career development coordinator at their school for more information.

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