The costs that come with attending a college or university continue to rise across the country and one state program is helping Northeast Ohio students save money on college tuition while they're still in high school.
According to the College Board, the average annual full tuition at a private university is about $35,000. It is $25,000 for out of state public colleges and about $10,000 for in-state public universities.
Ohio's College Credit Plus is a program that aims to alleviate some of that financial burden by allowing high schools to pay some of their students' college courses and some learners at Thomas W. Harvey High School are taking full advantage.
McKenzie Chappell is a member of the Harvey High School band, the National Honor Society and is class president and she is also a fulltime college student.
"I'm really good at time management. I always make time to study," said Chappell. "I always make time to do high school activities."
Harvey offers its students a chance to take college credit courses at nearby community colleges like Lake Erie and Lakeland and some courses are even taught at the high school by accredited teachers. Around $80,000 of foundation money from the state was used by Harvey to pay for the classes last year and program director Heidi Fyffe says it plays a vital role in helping to provide that college experience to students who may not get it any other way.
"We're giving a lot of our students a chance to go to college before they even get out of high school and they're the first in their family to be able to go to college," said Fyffe.
Myles Kalina-Hammond is now a full-time mortician in Washington D.C. after taking college classes for two years while a student at Harvey basically graduating with an Associates Degree in hand. He estimates taking the college credit classes as a high student saved him about $8,000.
"I have friends in California and they didn't even have the opportunity to do this so it really, it just saves you money, it saves you time and it gives you experience you need before actually going away to college," said Kalina-Hammond.
The savings are even greater for Chappell, who will enter the neuroscience, pre-med program at Baldwin Wallace University with the academic standing of a sophomore, and avoid about $40,000 in tuition costs.
"It really made me more mature in a sense because if I'm in a classroom full of adults you have to think like an adult, do work like an adult and perform like an adult," added Chappell.