New joint program helping H-F students earn a college degree in three years

The Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233 Board of Education has approved a three-way agreement that will give Homewood-Flossmoor High students the opportunity to earn a college business degree in three years.
At its Sept. 17 meeting, the board approved H-F joining with Prairie State College (PSC) and Western Illinois University on the Early College Pathway Program that will have students follow a set curriculum during their four years at H-F. Approved H-F credits will double as high school work and transfer to Prairie State for college credit.
“Research shows that students who begin their college pathway in a supportive environment are more likely to not only enter college, but earn their college degree,” said Principal Jerry Anderson, who initiated work on the joint agreement 18 months ago.
H-F freshmen in Computer Applications this semester and Advanced Computer Applications next semester are the first group eligible for the program.
“H-F students will earn dual credit with PSC for Advanced Computer Applications. Additionally, over their sophomore, junior and senior year, they will earn dual credit at PSC for Introduction to Business, Entrepreneurship and Management and Accounting,” explained Nancy Spaniak, H-F director of curriculum, instruction and professional development. 
“Early College Pathway students will also take the following courses at H-F for PSC dual credit: Principles of Communication (a new course adoption for 2020-21), Advanced Placement (AP) Language & Composition, AP Spanish or French, AP Art History and AP Statistics,” she added. 
Students will have a year of college work at no cost to them. Then they will complete a year’s work at Prairie State to earn an associate’s degree in business before transferring to Western Illinois University, where they will complete junior and senior years and earn a bachelor’s degree in business. 

If students decide to stay at Western, they can earn a master’s in business administration in a year’s time, Spaniak said.
“We aim to lower college cost making college more accessible and decrease student time to earn certificates and degrees by establishing an enhanced dual enrollment program that gives students the opportunity to start college while still enrolled in high school,” Anderson said. 
The Early College Pathway Program, with one year at PSC and two years at Western Illinois, is expected to cost just $30,000 in college tuition which by today’s college costs is “an amazing bargain,” Spaniak said. 

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