For the third straight year, Houston Community College dual credit students who are also Stafford High School seniors are simultaneously receiving their high school diplomas and associate degrees from HCC.
The Stafford Municipal School District Board of Trustees recognized the 47 students during a stole presentation ceremony May 9. The graduates are receiving degrees in business technology, culinary arts, film and video, and multidisciplinary studies.
The dual credit program is a perfect fit for the education mission at Stafford schools, said Superintendent Robert Bostic.
“This is one of the most outstanding programs we’ve had in the history of Stafford Municipal School District,” he said. “It’s one of the things that helps ensure we maintain our vision that 100 percent of graduating students are college and career-ready without remediation. With HCC we make that dream a reality.”
HCC’s partnership with Stafford schools translates into major cost savings for students and their families, said Madeline Burillo-Hopkins, president of HCC Southwest and vice chancellor of Workforce Instruction.
“If they had attended a four-year university for the first two years, that can be over $35,000 in tuition, without room and board,” she said. “It is important to note that these students are completing an associate degree from HCC and at the same time they’re getting their high school diploma.”
Deborah Nordt, director of High School, College and Career Center of the Stafford school district, said that by 2026 more than 125 Stafford students are projected to graduate from HCC, representing almost 45 percent of the senior class.
“Four years ago these students made a decision to invest in their future while completing their high school graduation requirements,” she said.
Receiving both associate degrees and high school diplomas puts the students ahead of their peers, allowing them to move ahead of entry-level applicants to enter a four-year university as a junior or start a job with certification.
The HCC dual credit program began in the 2013-14 school year at Stafford High School, allowing students to earn college credits to get a head start on their postsecondary pathways. Students who complete the program earn an Associate of Arts degree that is transferable to any state-supported college in Texas.