WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Two years ago, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Blueprint law allowing students to earn up to 40 college credits while in high school.

Hagerstown Community College and Washington County Public Schools are taking it a step further and eliminating all tuition for those students enrolled in those classes.

“Most students have had to pay for those courses out of pocket and so when we talk about removing barriers and ensuring that all students have access to rigorous coursework, Hagerstown community college and WCPS partnering together to create these dual credit opportunities is a win for our students,” Associate Superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Gary Willow said.

Whether those courses are taken online, at HCC, or in their high school, students will be able to focus more on what career paths they want to follow, rather than how their families will pay for post-secondary education.

“In a county like Washington County, where 40 to 45% of our students are Pell eligible, meaning they’re low to moderate income and your first-generation college, this gives them the opportunity to get a substantial amount of their four-year university path behind them free of charge,” explained Hagerstown Community College President Dr. Jim Klauber.

Klauber and people who live in the county agree this option will help students get a head start on furthering their education in a way that works for them.

“Knowledge is power and any opportunity to broaden your education is I think really good,” Max Cameron said.

“My own son is in the program,” Klauber said. “So, I want him to be able to transfer to a university and go do so affordably, and I think to give that opportunity to Washington County students is a phenomenal opportunity and I just hope that parents will take advantage of it.”

Those students who already paid their tuition for the Fall 2022 semester will receive a refund.