Go to Sturgis, save $30k on college

Sturgis’ IB Diploma Brings College Tuition Break

One student may save $30k if scores are high enough

By Walter Brooks

It’s no secret that Sturgis Charter Public School’s “IB for All” philosophy is the envy of Cape school districts, indeed the envy of schools across the nation.  However, Sturgis is discreet about the fact that students who earn high schools on the International Baccalaureate exams can save thousands of dollars on college tuition.

The IB website’s “recognition” section lists universities world-wide that recognize the IB diploma and grant various levels of college credit based upon a student’s scores on the IB exams.  Each university is listed with details about their IB acceptable policies or information on the institution’s contact for IB acceptance.

Go to Sturgis, save $30k on college

This week we spoke with a Sturgis parent whose child expects to attend Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.  He told Cape Cod Today that Hood “will give her 30 credits if she is awarded her IB diploma.  She would matriculate as a sophomore…”  Hood College’s page on the IB website reports that students “who have received an IB diploma, with a score of 30 or higher and with no score less than 4 in any one of the six examination groups, may be awarded up to 30 credits toward an undergraduate degree at Hood College.”  Hood lists its base tuition rate at $31,840.

Other colleges provide different levels of information to prospective students enrolled in IB programs.

Boston University’s IB recognition page maps specific courses to IB examination areas and shows the credit that can be received for each course.  Base annual tuition at BU is $42,000.

Depending upon the college a Sturgis graduate chooses – and the student’s score on the IB exams – a Sturgis education can bring an enormous financial reward.

Performance Under Pressure

Students, parents and educators have objected for many years to the “pressure” placed on public school students when they take the MCAS exams.  The bottom line with MCAS is that if a student doesn’t pass the Grade 10 exam, he or she must keep re-taking the test until they pass if they hope to receive a full-fledged high school diploma.

The MCAS pales in comparison to the pressure of the IB exam.  Many students go into the IB exam knowing that their scores could save their parents tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and essentially allow them to skip their first year of college?  How’s that for pressure?

We recall being told by a Sturgis student a few weeks ago, “If I can’t perform at that level, I don’t belong at Sturgis.”  Sturgis is about rigor and performance.  For students driven to perform every day at Sturgis, the pressure of the IB exam should not be overwhelming since the kids tell us they work under pressure every day of their time at Sturgis.

Could local high schools seize the day?

Over the past year Cape Cod Today has spoken to many local school administrators who told us their district was “considering” some kind of IB program.  IB is open to any school that can pass muster with the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Bringing a local school up to IB level academics can be costly.  Yet districts like Sandwich and Dennis-Yarmouth are already taking baby steps in this direction by launching STEM academies.  What could be a better investment of taxpayer dollars than developing an IB program in a local high school?  The dividend for the parents (who are, after all, taxpayers) could be $20,000 to $40,000 in college tuition savings.

If nothing else, a successful IB program would be a wonderful retention tool for any high school that worries about losing students to Sturgis or school choice.  And then there’s the potential to use IB as a magnet to attract new in-bound school choice students.

As the competition between Cape school districts continues to heat up, surely at least one or two of our high schools will “seize the day” to implement an International Baccalaureate program.

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