CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – Seniors at Cedar Hill’s Collegiate High School are anxious to begin exploring careers.
And why shouldn’t they be? Fifty-one of the seniors have already received their Associates Degrees from Cedar Valley College –– three weeks before high school graduation.
“I want to wear it on my sleeve,” says a laughing Kevelyn Rose. “Have a name tag that says ‘college graduate;’ but I think that’d be too much.”
These hard working students have already looked at the rising costs of four-year college degrees and are delighted that they’ve cut that expense in half by completing coursework while still living at home.
“I have a big family,” says Ashley McCloud. ”Getting two years free was a big plus for my family.”
Brittany Sherrill is headed to Texas A & M University to study chemical engineering. She says attending the Collegiate High School makes her feel more prepared.
“I feel like I’ve got a head start,” she said.
Sherrill also says that having two years of college coursework already completed will cut down on the amount of student loan debt she’ll incur.
And economists say students are wise to be wary of excessive student loan debt –– advice that comes too late for many. Over the past decade, the amount of outstanding student loan debt has increased a whopping 600 percent, approaching an eye popping $1 trillion.
“That’s second only to mortgage debt in terms of all the money we owe to financial institutions,” says Bernard Weinstein, an economist at SMU’s Cox School of Business. ”In fact, it’s greater than all of the consumer debt outstanding. Are we setting ourselves up for another financial crisis?”
Weinstein says only time will tell. But, in Cedar Hill, dozens of college-educated high school seniors have already learned that time really is money, and they’ve saved a bundle of both.
“So basically, I’m already coming in as a junior,” says graduating senior and future film student Desmond Jackson. ”I can already go into my major classes and I’m just super excited. I cannot wait. The money I’m saving is awesome as well.”
Cedar Hill’s Collegiate High seniors will graduate from high school on June 2.