Doing college in high school can save money, time

High school students hoping to jump-start their higher education have multiple options at Iowa Lakes Community College that will allow them to save money and time, thanks to partnerships with multiple local high schools.

Currently, those options include concurrent enrollment, contracted courses and the career academy programs, and though each of the three programs is a bit different from the others, all of them have two things in common: they can save high schoolers both money and time.

“One of the things is, there is no cost to the student for the course,” said Kari Hampe, director of high school partnerships at Iowa Lakes.

Even if the student still has to pay for books, which isn’t always the case, the cost is significantly lower than he or she would have to pay for the class and the books.

The other factor is time. It’s becoming more common for students to earn an associate degree just one year after high school, because students are taking a full year’s worth of college classes as high school upperclassmen.

Alternately, a student can simply take fewer courses at a time and still earn an associate degree in two years, perhaps allowing him or her to more easily juggle other obligations, such as a full-time job.
Either way, 88 percent of community college dual enrollment students continue in college after high school, and most earned a degree or transferred within five years, according to the Community College Research Center.

3 options to succeed
Students generally have three ways to earn college credit at Iowa Lakes through high school partnerships.

  • Concurrent enrollment: These courses are taught in high schools by high school instructors who meet the college qualifications to teach college-level courses.
  • Contracted courses: These classes are taught by Iowa Lakes instructors or other college instructors in the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, and they’re typically arts and sciences courses. They can be either online or face-to-face classes that meet at an Iowa Lakes campus.
  • Career academy: These courses focus on career and technical education programs. Some of the programs are located at high schools and others are at Iowa Lakes campuses, depending on what types of equipment students need and on the agreement the college has with the local high school.

Which option is best depends on the student, and there are some eligibility requirements in accordance with Senior Year Plus.

“You always start with your local (high school) guidance counselor,” Hampe said. “… our office also offers career exploration days on both the Emmetsburg and Estherville campuses, where students can come and take three hands-on sessions and try something out to see if they like it.”

Career academy can be particularly helpful, because it’s often just as useful for students to learn what they don’t like as it is to find out what they do like, Hampe said. That way they can avoid spending money on training for a career they won’t stay in for long.

For more information on high school partnerships with Iowa Lakes, contact Kari Hampe at khampe@iowalakes.educreate new email or 712-852-5228; Kendra Hough at khough@iowalakes.educreate new emailor 712-852-5246; or Regina Marquez at rmarquez@iowalakes.educreate new email or 712-852-5240.

For More Information:

Kari Hampe at 712-852-5228

Kendra Hough at 712-852-5246

Regina Marquez at 712-852-5240