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Published January 13, 2012, 05:01 PM

Students Take Advantage of Dual-Enrollment & AP Courses

GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The number of high school students enrolled in college level courses peaked last year.

GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The number of high school students enrolled in college level courses peaked last year.

More than 50 percent of juniors and seniors at East Grand Forks Senior High School are taking classes.

Saving money and getting a head start on college material is the main reason students are taking advantage of what their schools are offering, but on one side of the river, that may come at a cost to some students.

Dual enrollment courses at Senior High in East Grand Forks are free.

"If they play their cards right here, they can get up to 40 credits of college credit for free and that's the bottom line of why they're doing it I think," says Senior High School Principal, Brian Loer.

"It'll help take pressure off while I'm in college, I won't have to take as many classes or have such a big workload," said Senior Student, Mitchell Bridgeford.

Senior High offers online courses as well as classes at the school for college credit, giving students the opportunity to have one-on-one contact with their professor.

"We know that its not a good thing to start your life with 150,000 dollars in debt so why not get as many free college credits as you can," said Loer.

It's not the same story in Grand Forks. Red River students have to pay 80 dollars per credit hour, meaning if a student took one class they would owe 260 dollars. Associate Principal, Kelly Peters says it isn't an issue.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for them to jump start their college career, it's more economical than taking the classes on campus and its a way for them to earn college credit in high school," said Red River Associate Principal, Kelly Peters.

Students are still willing to pay for courses since they come at a reduced price. Red River has also tried to take the load off students and their families.

"As anybody who's gone through college knows that text book can cost a couple hundred dollars, but we pay for the text book. Right now we have an upswing in the students taking the dual credit classes, although our AP numbers have remained consistent throughout the years," said Peters.

Either way, students are happy to knock out a few classes before starting college.

"I really appreciate the opportunity while I'm in high school to take classes, really helpful," saud Bridgeford.