Credit: Denver7

There are ways for your kids to earn a degree for free while they’re still in high school.

One way to do this is through concurrent enrollment, which is allowing some students to get a huge jumpstart on their futures.

Every so often, a student comes along who is especially gifted and motivated. Ellie Mayer was 11 years old when she started taking classes at Arapahoe Community College. Now, at the age of 16, she just finished both her high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree. She will continue on at CSU to finish a bachelor’s degree. Mayer says you don’t have to do it her way or take that many college credits, but it does require some commitment.

“You know you can’t just walk in, get a D in your classes and come out with taking that funding, but for students that are really intellectually motivated and want to take something to the next level and start getting that college credit, it’s such an amazing way,” said Mayer.

Ellie saved a lot of money doing it this way. School districts in Colorado pay for concurrent enrollment courses. Those classes at a community college are about a third of the price that they would be at a four-year university.

The most motivated students like Mayer are potentially saving $27,000 off their college education compared to if she had just gone to a four-year college after completing high school like a lot of students do.

Since more students are taking concurrent enrollment classes every year, there are school districts that are going to have to pay more money. Those students often go on to a four-year degree and they still have to pay for a portion of their education.