Jump Start students qualify for half-price discount on tuition


Jump Start student Shawn Pollard said he loves getting college credits while finishing up his senior year in high school. Photo by Sarah Noble

Sarah Noble, Social Media Manager

Although all 12 community colleges in Maryland offer 16- and 17-year-olds the chance to take college classes while they’re still in high school, AACC is the only one to offer discounted tuition.

After passing the Accuplacer test, a placement exam similar to the SAT, a student must have a guidance counselor sign an early access form. Then, the student can enroll at AACC for half-price tuition.

If students have already taken the SAT and scored a 500 on math and English or the ACT and scored a 21 on math and 18 on English, they don’t have to take the Accuplacer.

Jump Start student Ruth Stimely said she “wanted to take classes at AACC to get a taste of what college would be like.”

This year’s enrollment for Jump Start students is at a record high, with 1,042 students.

That’s slightly more than in 2016, when 1,006 high school students attended AACC classes. In 2014, 859 enrolled, according to Dan Baum, AACC’s public relations and marketing director.

“We want everyone to know that we cater to the community,” Baum said. “This includes high school students.”

“Jump Start students bring excitement to the classroom,” English professor Mark Harris said.

But Jump Start student Danielle Pendergast said while she feels included in her class, she doesn’t “feel like I’m included in the student body as a whole.”

AACC’s Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Deidra Dennie said Jump Start students “are just as important at AACC as any other student.”

Harris said high schoolers who are considering taking classes next semester should “just do it.”

“It may seem like a lot of stress and trouble, but it’s worth it,” Harris said.