NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — When graduation season rolls around, nine local high-school students will simultaneously receive a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

The College NOW program was created by Heartland Community College to allow students to begin working on a degree as they finish high school.

Six of these Unit 5 students form the inaugural class of Degree NOW, a variant of the College NOW program created in collaboration with State Farm in 2017. This program specifically targets students seeking computer science degrees. Kyla Garner, Noah Moss, Katrina Phillips, Brady Veal, Miguel Velasco, Amber Waninger will all accept high school diplomas and their Associate’s in computer science.

“For students who know they want to pursue a college education and want a cost-effective head-start, these partnerships provide them that pathway,” said Alauna McGee, HCC Director of Early College Opportunities. 

Another variant of the program, College NOW+, also affords students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree while in high school. Three College NOW+ students, Sophia Lindenfelser, Henry Evans and Owen Shi, completed the full degree.

Heartland’s diploma ceremony will take place virtually on May 14.