High school students in Toms River will soon be able to begin their college journey a little early and try to gain an edge applying for colleges and universities.

The Toms River Regional School District and Ocean County College have announced that they are teaming up for a Dual Enrollment program where students can earn college credits, certificates, and associate degrees through academic pathways by taking OCC courses.

TRS is now recognized as a satellite location for OCC which follows the Toms River Board of Education passing a resolution and part of it is still in the process of being recognized through OCC’s Middle States Accreditation application process.

“The benefits of this arrangement reach far and wide, and it’s difficult for me to overstate the positive impact this will have for our students and families,” Toms River Schools Superintendent David Healy said in a statement. “This will increase our course offerings, boost the profile of our Career Academies, increase academic achievement and produce more college-ready graduates, and ultimately provide significant cost savings for our families.”

The enhanced dual enrollment program will be begin in September of 2021.

Students will have the option to take OCC-level courses at a reduced rate and earn college credits.

Certificates (30 credits) and associate degrees (60 credits) will be available to students in pathways including business, science, manufacturing, graphic arts and IT.

There will be opportunities for assistance based on need, which includes standard student scholarships through the college.

“The goal here is to allow your students the option to take these courses and earn college credits,” OCC Executive Director of Academic Success Dr. Henry Jackson said in a statement. “Ultimately, they’ll be able to utilize our entire OCC course catalogue.”

The partnership between TRS and OCC along with the Dual Enrollment program seemed like a no-brainer to get started.

“I know firsthand what this level of college readiness can mean for families since my daughter recently graduated High School South and OCC with an associate degree in math,” Toms River School Board President Anna Polozzo said in a statement. “What’s uniquely special about this dual enrollment program is that OCC works so well with our high school kids to ensure that their college credits are relevant and applicable. Having recently gone through this process, I’ve seen the disappointment of students who learn, for example, that their AP credits don’t count. That’s not the case here. OCC, in combination with our teachers and guidance counselors, is truly preparing our students for college, and giving them genuine leverage. Every parent in the district should be jumping for joy at this news.”

Superintendent Healy, former Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marc Natanagara and former Director of Curriculum Norma DiNoia led the efforts in getting things started on a possible partnership and Assistant Superintendent Cara DiMeo, Director of 6-12 Curriculum Estee Mailot and Supervisor of Educational Technology Tiffany Lucey have continued the mission.

“This is a matter of equity,” DiMeo said in a statement. “Not only will dual enrollment help our Career Academy and general education students; it meets the needs of our at-risk learners who might not have otherwise pursued a college pathway. This is truly momentous for the district, a product of years of hard work by many people from different organizations working together in the interest of students. We couldn’t be prouder.”

There are still some details being ironed out among administrators, curriculum writers, educators, and guidance counselors to design and align the courses and develop the coursework and logistics.

More information is expected to be announced at a later date.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

More From Townsquare Media Monmouth-Ocean:

Enter your number to get our free mobile app