Nobody was offering a bribe to get a student into College of the Mainland.
A lot of us, however, were ready to open our pocketbooks to hand out money to the local educators, having heard a presentation on COM’s Collegiate High School Program.
High school students from the mainland districts, plus one school on the island, are getting diplomas and degrees all at the same time, thanks to this wonderful program.
Thanks to the college board, costs are as low as they can be, and children who can’t make it to Harvard, and probably aren’t even interested in going there, can get a two-year degree that lets them go to work in a profitable career.
The program was explained at a Community Advisory Committee meeting, at which plant managers are always present.
Asked about the children who graduate from the college’s program that prepares them to work in the local plants, process technology, some of the plant managers said those graduates can begin with starting salaries around $60,000 a year.
“And that’s not with overtime,” one said.
How about that. There are 1,300 enrolled in these programs this spring. Some of them go to class at the college, and some do their work in the various high schools.
They have to take U.S. history and English and all the credits that get them out of high school. In addition they can study criminal justice, welding, cosmetology, pharmacy technology, and pipefitting. Lots of stuff.
They all can participate in all the high school stuff like athletics, band, choir and prom.
They also have access to the college stuff, like the gymnasium, the library and tutoring, of course.
Usually, each student gets 24 to 30 hours of college during the first year. It costs him or her $200 tuition, which is the barest of minimums. That doesn’t cover books, which can get quite expensive, they said. Out-of-district students have to pay $250.
The dual credit students can’t apply for federal grants, but must depend on local dollars.
After hearing all the pros, COM President Warren Nichols reminded us that there are still a lot of high school students on free or reduced price lunch programs who can’t scrape $200 together to get started on a career.
That’s where we all come in. Call Lisa Watson at COM to find out how you can send your $200 to help one of these children.
Nichols said every dime donated would go to the children, and that every child who applied would be accepted.
Seems like a good deal to me.