ok County High School, COCC, and Crook County Open Campus have found a creative way to make college more affordable.
   Students at CCHS who are scheduled to graduate in 2013 can now attend one year of community college without paying for tuition.
   The new program, called the CCHS Advanced Diploma program, allows students who would have graduated to remain enrolled at Crook County High School for a fifth year, while attending community college full time.
   To be eligible for the program students must have met the graduation requirements for either a standard diploma or a university diploma. Eligible students who take advantage of the program would walk with their graduating class, but not receive a diploma.
   By returning to CCHS for a fifth year, students will raise the average daily membership numbers for the school. The extra money the school receives from the state of Oregon for the increased ADM will then be used to fund tuition for the student.
   Once they complete the Advanced Diploma program, students will then receive their Crook County High School diploma.
   Not only will students be able to complete coursework without tuition costs, but Prineville Central Oregon Community Campus Coordinator at COCC Crook County Open Campus is working to bring as many classes as possible to Prineville.
   Students will be required to take a minimum of nine credits per term for three consecutive terms.
   Although the program pays for tuition and books only, that is still a bargain for students. With the rising costs to attend college, many students have either been unable to afford a college education or have finished school saddled with massive debt.
   With the new program, students should be able to get a good start on their college education without being forced to take on any debt. Whether students intend to go on to attend a trade school, a second year of community college, or a four-year school, the program allows students to finish many of their general education requirements while giving them a leg up on their educational goals.
   With no cost to the Crook County School District and little to no cost to students, this appears to be a win-win proposition for everyone involved.
   Kudos to the Crook County School Board, the CCHS administration, COCC, and Crook County Open Campus for making the program available. The program should open doors for students who might not have otherwise considered attending college. With college costs spiraling out of control, we see no reason that any student who does not already have a full college scholarship would not want to take advantage of the opportunity.
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