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More High School Students Receiving College Degrees

Programs that allow high school students to earn college credits before they graduate are growing at a rate of 7% per year, according to the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

Between 2004 and 2009 the number of students earning associate degrees before high school graduation rose by 130% each year. This increasing trend may allow students to save time and money as college tuition costs rise each year.

According to a report published by the Association of Community Colleges, during the 2013-2014 school year the average annual tuition and fees for a full-time student enrolled in a public two-year college were $3260, compared to $8,890 at public four-year institutions.

But students enrolled in postsecondary enrollment options programs, who attend classes either part or full time at area colleges or online, sidestep these costs with their participation, since tuition and books are paid for by the state.

Adam Lowe, the executive director of the NACEP, believes that at least 20% of American high school students are taking at least one college course.

Noel Meyer, a high school counselor in Minnesota, told USA TODAY that exploring professions without financial risk is a benefit of the program.

"If they find 'this program isn't for me,' at least they're not wasting money," Meyer said.

Photo via Twenty20/Saquan Stimpson

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