HCC dual credit program graduates record number of area students
May 17, 2023
Top: HCC Dual Credit program graduation ceremony at Stafford Municipal School District (Photo courtesy of SMSD)
Second through fourth photos: HCC Dual Credit program graduation ceremonies at Marshall High School, Hightower High School, and Willowridge High School. (Photos courtesy of FBISD)
A record number of Fort Bend and Stafford students have received both their high school diplomas and Houston Community College associate degrees and workforce certificates this spring, along with significant savings in tuition costs.
A total 93 graduates from Fort Bend Independent School District and 65 from Stafford Municipal School District have completed the HCC dual credit program, which allows them to finish high school and two-year college at the same time.
The first-ever cohort of dual credit graduates from Fort Bend celebrated the milestone at James Reese Career and Technical Center in Sugar Land on April 25. The graduates included 51 from Early College High School at Marshall High, 24 from the Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) program at Willowridge High and 18 from P-TECH at Hightower High.
Athena Walker, P-16 director at HCC Southwest, praised the students’ fortitude and resilience to complete the demanding program.
“These students jumped into the water with strong currents, but they learned how to swim and stuck it out to the very end,” she said.
The students began their dual credit journey as freshmen and sophomores, focusing on workforce certificates or degrees. The areas of studies cover computer programming, health information technology, histology, medical scribe, and multidisciplinary studies.
At the Stafford school district, 65 dual credit graduates walked the stage at NRG Arena on May 12.
“We started the (dual credit) program nine years ago with three graduates, and now we have almost 70,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Bostic. “Next year, we will have a graduating class of 230 students, including 140 in the dual credit program.”
Tuition is waived from HCC so there is no cost to the student to complete the dual credit program, representing a savings of $30,000 in tuition costs for an associate degree.