A suburban Chicago community college is offering a full year of classes to eligible high school seniors in partnership with a local school district.
Elgin Community College has partnered with Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 on a program that allow seniors to take classes in arts, science and applied science that will count toward a two-year associate degree, the Daily Herald reports.
When they graduate, students may choose to finish their degree at ECC or transfer the credits to another Illinois college or university.
Ben Churchill, the district's chief academic officer, says the program will provide "a real jump-start" on a college education and be a "significant cost savings to families." Tuition at public Illinois universities can cost as much as $50,000.
“The courses that we will allow them to take in this program are all courses that should be accepted at four-year colleges and universities as transfer courses," Churchill told the Daily Herald.
According to District 300 officials, the school district will be covering tuition costs for approximately 30 high school seniors, and the students will only be responsible for the cost of books and transportation in the "early college" initiative.
"We feel that it supports our efforts sustain a college bound culture," a spokesperson for the district said, adding that the program "ensures that we also provide first time college attendees with the resources and supports needed to be successful."
No other suburban school district has a dual-credit program that offers a full year of tuition-free college courses, according to the paper.
Students must be college-ready and pass ECC's placement test in reading, writing and math to take advantage of the offer.