PBSC dual-enrollment degrees help grads jump-start their dreams

PBSC dual enrollment graduate Aimee Georges, second from right, is surrounded by her siblings, (from left) Preston, 11, Joy 13, and Princeton 11, who are all current PBSC dual enrollment students.

When Aimee Georges graduated from Palm Beach State College with an Associate in Arts degree, 16 members of her proud family were at the commencement ceremony to cheer her on. Their pride is understandable as the dual-enrollment student from Loxahatchee earned both her A.A. and her high school diploma at the age of 15. Georges, who was home schooled all her life, got her first taste of campus life attending courses at PBSC. “My favorite part of PBSC was the lab,” Georges said. “There were a lot of resources available to me and I got great hands-on experience that will help me later in life.”

Next on Georges’ agenda? She plans to get her Bachelor of Science degree from Oakwood University in Alabama before heading on to medical school to become a family doctor. The Georges family are strong supporters of the dual enrollment program, which allows eligible secondary students (6th -12th grade) to take college courses creditable toward a career certificate or college degree. Georges’ 13-year-old sister Joy and 11-year-old twin brothers Preston and Princeton are all dual enrollment students at PBSC.

Dual enrollment is increasingly popular. At PBSC’s May 7 commencement ceremony, 96 dual enrollment students received their diplomas. Across PBSC’s five campuses, there were 2,722 students registered for the Spring 2024 semester. The Florida Department of Education’s Know Your Data Advanced Reports Portal reports nearly 160,000 dual enrollment course enrollments in 2022-2023, an increase of 4.5% from the previous academic year.

Florida’s surge in dual enrollment student is emblematic of a national trend. More than 1.5 million students across the country enroll in dual enrollment courses each year, according to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University. From 2011 to 2021 alone, the number of students taking DE in the U.S. nearly doubled, and it continues to grow. The appeal is easy to understand. College credit earned prior to high school graduation reduces the average time-to-degree and increases the likelihood of graduation for the students who participate in these programs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. There is also evidence that dual enrollment increases academic performance and educational attainment.

PBSC dual-enrollment grad Tuff Genda plans to become a roboticist.

Tuff Genda, an 18-year-old dual enrollment student who graduated in May with an A.A. degree in computer programming, plans to return to PBSC in the fall semester to earn his Bachelor of Science degree. He initially struggled with time management when he had to take both high school and college courses simultaneously. But overall, the experience taught him invaluable new skills. “It has given me greater responsibility and really helped me to improve my time management,” he said. At PBSC, “I worked with harder more challenging courses that stimulated my learning.”

After his next graduation, Genda hopes to work in a robotics lab, ideally testing the capabilities of robots for scientific research.  The dual enrollment program has enabled Genda to jumpstart his dreams. “It has really been a big help in furthering my education as the financial burden of covering the cost of college is taken away,” he said.

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