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Mar 23, 2017 11:00 AM EDT

The Lacey Township school district will become the first in Ocean County to offer students the opportunity to receive a high school diploma and at the same time a two-year college degree. Under a new partnership and dual enrollment program with Ocean County College, selected students will begin the district's expanded College Academy on September.

A group of qualified Lacey junior will be selected and will start to earn their associate degree during their last two years of high school. Lacey Township High School will be the only school to offer it in 2017-18 in Ocean County said Principal Gregory Brandis.

They school district has scheduled an information session about the program on Thursday at 6 p.m. School officials will hold the event for prospective students and parents. Those who qualify for the program can participate at the cost of $92.50 per college credit and may take up to 65 college credits.

The regular fee for Ocean County College is $143.50 per credit. The new program is a huge advantage as students can save more than $3,000 on their associate degree and at the same time be two years ahead their peers once they graduate high school.

The school first partnered with Ocean County College back in 2014 where they gave students a jump start by allowing high school students to earn up to 18 college credits before graduation. Henry Jackson, coordinator of the College Readiness Now Program at Ocean County College said that this is the first dual enrollment in the country to give students a high school diploma and a college degree at the same time.

Parents have struggled with escalating college costs every year, the program serves as a fast route to a bachelor's degree. It can also save families tens of thousands of dollars on tuition, room and boarding, and allowance according to

It is a great chance of saving students money on college. The dual enrollment programs also prepare young scholars with challenging coursework that college admission officers look for on high school transcripts.

Follows lacey, Lacey Township school district, Lacey Township, Ocean County, Ocean County College, dual enrollment, High School Diploma, two-year college degree, Principal Gregory Brandis, Lacey Township High School, College Credits, College Readiness Now Program
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