Last updated: October 03. 2013 9:34PM - 814 Views

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At its October meeting, the Richmond Community College (RCC) Board of Trustees took a major step in removing a barrier that prevents high school students in Richmond and Scotland counties from getting a jump start on their college education.

The board approved a policy revision that waives the activity, student technology and insurance fees for dually enrolled high school students who take college courses at RCC.

For most programs, the fees are $32 per student each semester at RCC. Under North Carolina’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program, high school students taking college courses at any of the state’s 58 community colleges do so tuition-free. CCP provides seamless dual enrollment educational opportunities for eligible North Carolina high school students in order to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas and associate degrees that lead to college transfer or provide entry-level job skills.

“By waiving this fee, our board has proven its commitment to providing high quality, low cost college courses to our high school students,” said RCC President Dale McInnis. “We have a record number of high school students taking classes at the college this semester, but we are not satisfied. Free college courses are just too good of an opportunity for our students to pass up.”

Board member Jim McCaskill agreed with McInnis.

“I’m proud that we can remove some of the barriers that may prevent them from taking advantage of the free college credits they can earn while still in high school,” McCaskill said. “Our young people face so many obstacles today and this will help them get ahead.”

According to McInnis, the success of the Early College High Schools has prompted the desire to expand college opportunities for all high school students.

“I know we can replicate what we are doing with our early colleges with all of our high school students,” said McInnis. Students enrolled in early college programs earn their high school diplomas and associates degrees or two years of college-transfer credit in five years. “It has the possibility to save students and parents a lot of money and better prepare our young people for college or the workforce.”

Students from both public and private high schools are eligible to take CCP classes.

Keith McKenzie, principal at Richmond Senior High School, spoke favorably of the fee waivers, the cost of which was “one of the sticking points” that prevented some high school students from earning dual credits.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” McKenzie said of the decision that “opens doors” for seniors at his school.

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