Through a new program, students are earning associate degrees in computer science in high school.

Soft SkillsOfficials in local technology fields in McLean County are excited about opportunities for select students to earn an associate degree before graduating high school. Through a collaboration between the local Unit 5 and Heartland Community College, students currently enrolled in eighth grade are the first available class to apply for the program.

Students must attend Normal Community West High School and will enter the program as freshmen taking regular courses for the first two years.  During the summer before junior year, they will take classes on the Heartland campus and the dual credit classes will be included in their schedule.

Students will pay regular tuition for college courses, but the dual-credit classes will be free.  Tuition in district is $135 per credit hour.

“They would essentially get an associate’s degree for half the price,” said Laura O’Donnell, director of secondary education at Unit 5.

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