Stop student debt before it starts: send your kids to Harrisburg High School so they can take college classes for free!
The early college program is possible through an agreement between Harrisburg schools and the South Dakota Board of Regents.
The regents will allow the district to pay for the early college courses at the same rate as dual-credit courses, which give students both high school and college credit.
Most recently, that rate was set at about $48 per credit, deeply discounted from the approximately $300 per credit hour for South Dakota students who enroll in state universities after graduating high school.
In dual-credit courses, students pay for their credits. In Harrisburg’s early college program, the school will pay the $48 per credit to the public universities [Megan Raposa, “Harrisburg to Offer Free College Courses to High School Students,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.08.21].
Students, here’s your math problem to work on while you take those free college classes: Suppose you can take a full freshman year’s worth of college classes for free at Harrisburg. Calculate the lifetime savings you’ll enjoy by reducing your college loan debt by 25%. Calculate the additional savings of being able to graduate from college a year early and thus avoid the tuition increase of what would have been your fourth year on campus. Calculate the additional earning power you’ll get from entering the workforce a year earlier. Finally, calculate the additional savings you can have for your own children’s college fund 20 to 30 years from now by investing the money you save on tuition this year plus the early money you’ll make after your early university graudation at average market rates.
Or, if you take seriously my postscript to my eclipse post, just figure out how many world capitals you can visit on the money Harrisburg and the Regents will save you on college classes.
Readers, here’s your policy problem to work on today: identify anything—anything!—wrong with this great opportunity that the Harrisburg school board and the Regents are offering to high school students.