High Point Virtual Academy offers high school students free online associate's degree

Liz Rossow is a high school student who is earning her diploma and an associate's degree from her kitchen table at home. And she'll get the associate's degree for free. 

"There are four kids in my family and we all want and are planning to go to college so the fact that I can get this without paying for room and board and without paying for tuition is a huge deal," she said.

High Point Virtual Academy is all online. In its fourth year, it's recognized as a four-year high school just like a brick and mortar one. Out of the 1,000 students who are enrolled more than a dozen are signed up for what's known as the Early Middle College Program. 
"We have business management so students can go into entry-level retail and end up in their management programs right away. With our computer sciences, our computer systems degree from Davenport, they can become the IT people we want, they can become your programmers, your coders," said Christina Brasil with High Point Virtual Academy.

Right now 142 school districts in Michigan are a part of the program. Students who are a part of it go to school for 13 instead of 12 years, but when they leave, they walk with a high school diploma and also an associate's degree. Baker and Davenport are two participating universities. Lake Orion high school is taking part. There are six students who are a part of it there, including Julia Hawley.

"There were a bunch of bonuses and benefits to this program. One of them is (getting) a head start on my college career so I was able to take college classes during high school, which gave me a headstart so I thought that was a great benefit. Another thing was I was able to avoid the high cost of post-secondary education," she said.

"It elevates that ability. You have the tools that you need to go on to do the things you want to accomplish and I believe it will make us all better for it because we're doing it now and we're getting it done," Rossow said.

But to get it done, your PSAT and SAT scores play a role and students have to have a 2.5 grade point average or better to be eligible. Free associates degree, a job after school's over, and no college debt -- an equation that's easy for students to wrap their heads around in school.  

"I am not saying that four- year degrees are not good but for those that know that is not the real path for them, this is the best way to go," Brasil said.

"It is a lot of work. They are quick-paced classes because they are college classes and you're doing it online so you're going to learn time management and use that but I would definitely say go ahead with it, go try it. It's definitely worth it," said Rossow.

You can learn more here.