Early College Academy giving Wichita students opportunity to obtain college degrees sooner

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Crystal Dilbeck and her daughter Emily listen intently...what they're hearing could save them a lot of money and time for Emily's education.

"This is a great opportunity that if she gets accepted, she can get an associates and that's fantastic. She can go on to her dreams, she wants to be a lawyer, and could accomplish that sooner," says Crystal Dilbeck

They along with dozens of Wichita parents and students are learning how a new program called the Early College Academy works.

"We're intentionally trying to target demographics that have historically been underserved as well so we feel really good about that. We feel like its a tremendous opportunity for all students," says Eric Hofer-Holdeman, Principal of Northwest High School

Northwest High School is partnering with Friends University,to help students achieve their dream of getting a college degree.

50 students will be selected to participate. They'll not only be going to high school over the next four years, but they'll be taking enough college courses to get a two years under their belt by the time they get their high school diploma.

"One of the best parts is that it's completely free for the students accepted," says Hofer-Holderman.

For this single mom, the program will take the financial burden away.

"To know that I'm helping my mom in any way I can would be great," says China Otuonye. 

"She's smart, a 4.0 student. So if she gets accepted it would be a great thing for us. It is a big relief if we are accepted financially it would be a big relief for us, but we'll see," says Ugo Otuonye.

All interested 8th grade students eligible to attend Wichita public schools are encouraged to apply. The application consists of an entry essay, recommendations from teachers, and a commitment letter from parents or guardians. Applications are due by January 25th.