A record number of Iowa high schoolers are taking classes at the state’s community colleges this fall. 

Tom Schenk, Junior, of the Iowa Department of Education tracks the numbers. “More and more high school students are trying to get college credits before they actually get to college and when we actually take a look at these students who are doing it, they tend to be above average students,” Schneck says. “They have above average ACT scores. They’re older. They’re (high school) seniors.”

Almost 28,000 Iowa high school students are taking at least one class at a community college this fall. That’s seven percent more than last year. Starting college coursework early can keep kids from losing interest in school. 

“A lot of the emphasis, especially in our current technical education classes are really geared toward the interests of the students, to keep them engaged,” Schenk says.

It can also save money, as high schoolers may take up to 30 credit hours at a community college without paying tuition. Nearly a quarter of the 106,000 students enrolled in classes at the state’s community colleges this fall are high schoolers.