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North Shore Community College

Early College Frequently Asked Questions

Why is attaining a higher education degree so important?

  • 72% of all jobs in Massachusetts will require some form of a postsecondary degree by the year 2020.
  • Attainment of a postsecondary credential or degree has significant economic impact on the amount of money a student earns over a lifetime.

Why is affordability of higher education so important?

Average student loan debt for higher education is roughly $29,000.

What percentage of high school students graduate with college credits nationally?

Approximately 15%

What does the research show are the benefits of early college options for students?

  • Students place less often into developmental education when they transition into higher education.
  • Students are able to accelerate their learning in a field of interest.
  • Students gain a sense of belonging in higher education.
  • Students often earn early college credit at a reduced cost – making higher education attainment more affordable.
  • Students tend to enroll full-time in higher education and complete their degree at a higher rate.

What are the types of options that could count for college credit?

  • Dual enrollment: students take a college-level course taught by college faculty at the college, at the high school site, or online.
  • Advanced Placement exams: students take a rigorous high school course taught by a trained high school teacher. Students take a national AP exam – qualifying exam scores determine eligibility for college credit based on the receiving institution’s policy on challenge exams.
  • Articulated high-school-to-college-level technical course completion: high school technical courses taught by a high school teacher are aligned and articulated to a college course and college-level learning. Students earn college credit by completing the course with a qualifying grade, completing a credit application and submitting transcripts to the college.
  • CLEP® (College-Level Examination Program) Exam credit: A qualifying score on this national exam may allow students to receive college credit for what they already know.

Can a student earn a post-secondary degree or credential while completing a high school diploma simultaneously?

Yes – as long as 25% of total credits in the post-secondary credential or degree are earned in courses taught by faculty of the degree-granting institution.

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