Sticker Shocked about Education Cost After High School? This CAN Help.

POSTED ON: September 20, 2018

As the thoughts of students and parents turn toward the beginning of the new school year, many are pondering how to pay for education and training after high school. Two thirds of jobs in the current and future economy will require specialized education after graduation. Most high school graduates will need professional certification for jobs such as health care, information technology or hospitality; or skilled trades training for employment in many areas of manufacturing and industry; or a college degree in fields including science, engineering, education and the liberal arts.

The Oceana College Access Network (Oceana CAN!) has some useful suggestions on the many options to consider when thinking about how to pay for college. Oceana CAN! defines college as all post-secondary education, including certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.

Of course the most familiar sources of financial assistance are scholarships, grants and loans. There are many options to consider and it’s never too soon to start the search.

But — perhaps less well known are other programs that can significantly reduce what might seem like the overwhelming costs of education and training after high school. In Michigan, an average credit-hour tuition fee for in-state schools is between $200 and $500. Just earning a few of these college and technical school credits while still in high school – for free! – can add up to some real savings.

Advanced Placement is probably the most familiar of these programs. High School students take college-level courses at their own high school, taught by a high school teacher or sometimes online. If the target exam score is met, these courses can fulfill requirements and earn college credits at no extra cost.

Related to Advanced Placement is Dual Enrollment. High School students can take college courses at a variety of locations in the community and sometimes online, and earn credit if they receive a passing grade. Courses can count for high school credit, college credit, or both and are free while a student is still in high school.

Several area educational organizations also offer programs that are tailored to the needs of area students and earn college and technical school credits — for free! The West Shore Educational Service District (WSESD) has programs that can give students an early boost in a wide range of careers. ASM Tech offers the opportunity to earn an Associate’s Degree with just one extra year of high school, at no cost to the student and parents. Located on the campus of West Shore Community College, ASM Tech (The Academy of Science, Math, and Technology Early College High School) offers a variety of benefits that include books and fees as well as support services such as academic advisors and career planning.

WSESD also offers a Career and Technical Education Program (CTE) that provides high school juniors and seniors opportunities to potentially earn college credit as well as technical certifications in a variety of fields, including health technology, construction trades, automotive technology, digital media, marketing, welding, and many others. Job shadowing and internships are also available for qualifying students.

Promesa Summer Success is a free, eight-week program offered through Ferris State University that combines academics and college preparation. High School juniors and seniors can earn up to seven college credits over the summer while gaining proficiency in math and reading along with college readiness.

High school counselors are the first go-to people to ask about any of these opportunities for local high school students. The Oceana CAN! has much more information about all of these programs. Plan to attend College Information Nights to learn more on Oct. 22nd, 29th, Nov 5th.


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What Is "College"?

College is all post-secondary education including certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges and 4 year colleges and universities. Learn More