Already committed to transforming the lives of residents in Navajo and Apache counties, Northland Pioneer College is raising the service bar this fall for the region’s dual enrollment students. These students have the opportunity to earn associate college degrees at the same time they receive a high school diploma, with no tuition fee. To better serve dual enrollment students, NPC created the Early College program to make higher education the most beneficial experience possible.
NPC’s dual enrollment program covers the cost of the student’s tuition, fees and transportation (if needed) and books. Students may be responsible for the cost of supplies and deposits. Some of the classes take place within the high school and others at NPC.
By comparison, students attending a public in-state university will spend an average of more than $10,000 per year without aid. NPC dual enrollment students transferring to a state university do so with zero debt.
“NPC is committed to serving its high school partners with excellence, and we understand they are facing challenging times ahead,” said Dr. Jessica Clark, vice president for Learning and Student Services. “To make sure we can serve them and their students, we want to make college education as affordable and as effective as possible.”
To better serve its Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT), dual enrollment and TALON students, NPC is now placing them all under the umbrella of its newly created Early College program. Starting this fall, each of NPC’s high school partners will also have an adviser assigned to their school to make weekly or bi-weekly visits and check ins to better serve dual enrollment students.
These changes are all part of a commitment to encourage young students to pursue a college education. For, as research cited by Dr. Clark demonstrates, students who successfully complete just one college course while in high school are 75 percent more likely to successfully earn a college certificate and/or a degree.
High school students taking advantage of the great opportunities at NPC must register for classes online. In order to qualify for the tuition waiver, they must have their enrollment confirmed by a high school counselor or another designated staff member. There may be times when students are asked to provide proof of their eligibility as a high school student by presenting a current transcript, student ID card or letter of confirmation from the school.
Home school students are also eligible for the tuition waiver through a similar qualification process.
Jeremy Raisor, director of enrollment services at NPC, said the 100-percent tuition waiver for high school students came from a joint recommendation to the District Governing Board by several college administrators. Dr. Clark spearheaded the effort.
Raisor said providing proof of eligibility should be an exception because the waivers will typically apply automatically. This waiver applies to classes taken outside of the normal school day as well, giving students the chance to take classes online or on campus after hours if needed.
“This transformational opportunity for dual enrollment students gives NPC the flexibility to create new and unique partnerships with each school district and can be used to either supplement their existing Early College programs or to replace parts of their standard curriculum when schools experience turnover with their teachers,” Dr. Clark said.
Dr. Robbie Koerperich, superintendent of public schools in Holbrook, is enthused about the tuition waivers for dual enrollment students and said: “The tuition waiver provided by Northland Pioneer College enables all students who are college-ready to have equal access to college coursework. The TALON program has brought a unique opportunity to Holbrook High School that gives our students a head start on college and career readiness. The return on the investment for our students lasts a lifetime.”