What if there was a way to cut university tuition costs and graduate early?
That’s the opportunity being offered to some High Schoolers by a unique public school in Ventura County.
A freshman English class is underway at the High School at Moorpark College. It’s a High School but with a unique difference – it’s a public school but on a college campus – and allows students to earn both their high school diploma and college credits at the same time.
"The students get to take half of their classes as college classes and they receive honors credit for the college classes on their high school transcript," explained Superintendent Kelli Hays from Moorpark Unified School District. "Students have the ability to graduate with both a High School diploma and an associate arts degree."
Hays says the college credits earned at the High School at Moorpark College can cut costs for four year universities in half, meaning less college debt and more financial freedom for graduates.
"The students have the opportunity to demonstrate their college readiness as early as 9th grade because they're taking a real college course," said Hays. "They are going to be entering college potentially as a junior so it can save them money and save them their general ed requirements and when they go to college they're just working on their major and that's the greatest opportunity for the kids."
Student Aileen Sosa is in grade 12, and praises the small class sizes – there’s currently around a 100 students at the school in total – and ability to fast track her future education.
"I came in wanting to get ahead and that's been one of the greatest things about this program," she told KCLU. "I've already been able to get 60 college credits which means that I can transfer to a university as a junior rather than a freshman."
"I want to be a chemical engineer or a forensic scientist," she added.
Student Paul Saraceno is a senior and likes the flexibility of the schedule for students, and the opportunity to get a head start on a career.
"Juniors and seniors come into school at 12 o'clock and we go until 4.30 in the afternoon," he explained.
"I'll be able to get my A degree when I graduate as a senior," said Saraceno. "It lets you do everything two years earlier than you'd usually get."
The program draws students from all over the county, but few families know it’s a possibility to get a step ahead with college credits – and the costs of college.