Here in Washington State, we have a program for high school students called Running Start. This program was initiated by the Washington State Legislature in 1990 and gives eleventh and twelfth grade students the opportunity to attend certain higher education institutions. This amazing program allows qualifying high school students to earn college credit at the same time they are earning their high school diploma credits. The most amazing part of the program is that the program fund pays for the tuition. They will pay for Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters of both the eleventh and twelfth grades.
A college setting may not be for every student and parents will have to evaluate their own student's readiness. On the other hand, a self motivated student will appreciate the opportunity to get a jump start on their college education.
If a student chooses to participate in a vocational program, he could be ready to enter the job force with accreditation straight out of high school, giving him the edge over his peers.
It is important to think ahead in order to take full advantage of the program. When your student is in the tenth grade, they should talk to a school counselor, or you, the parent, should call your school district to make inquiries. This way your student will be ready to roll when Fall arrives so that he can get a full three quarters in. You will still have to pay for text books, but this is a small price to pay.
As a Washington State tax payer, I appreciate that my son has been able to take advantage of the Running Start program and I encourage others to do the same.
Residents of other states should check with their Department of Education to discover any similar programs their state may have to offer.