SCSU partnership aims to get more high school students taking college courses


Public high school is free. College costs money, but if you take a bunch of college courses for free in high school, you could save a semester or two of college tuition.

“I don’t know if anyone has checked recently, but it is really expensive to go to college,” said New Haven Schools Superintendent Carol Birks at a press conference at Hillhouse High School.

In an effort to help high school students get ready and pay college, SCSU announced a partnership with New Haven public schools Thursday morning. They are doing that by offering college courses for free in high school.

Ciara Ortiz-Diaz has already taken several and is still a high school junior at the Sound School.

“So I’m kind of learning that I’m into public health and environmental policy,” Ortiz-Diaz said. “Now being able to take college courses, I’m able to further explore those fields.” 

Until now, for those high school students to take those SCSU courses, they actually had to leave their high schools and go to the southern campus. Now, under this new agreement, they will be able to take college classes right in their high schools.

Related Content: College tuition is still getting more expensive

Some of those classes will be taught by SCSU professors, some by qualified high school teachers. Southern is also offering $200,000 in new financial aid to New Haven Public School students. That’s a big help, but the biggest cost saver is taking college courses for free in high school.

Dayana Lituma-Solis did that when she was in high school, and says it helped prepare her for college.

“It also allowed me to gather enough college credits to come into SCSU a semester ahead of my peers.,” said Lituma-Solis, who is currently a SCSU student. “For this reason, I’m happy to say I’ll be finishing my undergraduate studies a semester earlier.”

That is exactly the plan for the dozens of current high school students like Ciara Ortiz-Diaz.

“And knowing next year I can take probably 4 more courses and get a whole year done of college, and I know in the future that will save a ton of debt,” Ortiz-Diaz said.

The credits are also transferable to many other colleges, so the students don’t necessarily have to go to Southern, although at the press conference on Thursday, the President of SCSU offered Ortiz-Diaz a $1,000 scholarship if she does choose Southern.

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