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They knew how expensive college was. So these siblings finished their degrees in 2 years.

They knew how expensive college was. So these siblings finished their degrees in 2 years.
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 20:41:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- For Preston and Brooke Battle, there has been no greater joy during the pandemic than crossing the stage at Virginia Tech to get their college degrees during the same commencement ceremony.

The siblings were also able to complete the task in just two years.

It was a plan that their family hatched a few years ago when the two were in high school. The parents encouraged their children to take dual enrollment courses at their local community college.

"Dual enrollment is a partnership with the community college system and local school divisions in their service areas. It gives high school students who meet college readiness requirements an opportunity to take classes their junior and senior year," Bernadette Battle, the sibling's mother, said.

It was a move that saved the Battle family tens of thousands of dollars in college expenses. It is something that the mom knows these days is a huge concern for parents navigating tough financial times during the pandemic.

"I can't sneak around the cost savings. It really helps to know when your children start at that four-year college, you can afford it. Having two children in college was a definite stretch and it challenged us, but thank God we made it and dual enrollment was a big factor in that," Bernadette said.

Preston and Brooke said their arrangement saved their parents two years of tuition.

"I came in thinking I was a freshman and I'm talking to my advisor and I learn I'm technically a second-semester sophomore and I don't have to take all the general education classes so I got to jump straight into my major," Preston said.

"Being able to cut two years of tuition off was a humongous thing I wanted to do. Because I was like, this is the one thing I can do for them to give back for all their hard work in raising me," Brooke said.

Not only does dual enrollment reduce the time it takes to complete the degree, but it also reduces future college expenses.

It also gives students a feel for what college life is like and they can take advantage of things like advising and career counseling.

"It was great to get that foundation at an early age and to know what college was going to be like. So I didn't go into college blindfolded," Preston said.

"So having that experience in high school, holding myself accountable to finish a paper when it's due and things like that really helped me because when I got to Virginia Tech, the teaching was similar and I was already prepared," Brooke said.

It's a proud family moment these parents hope will inspire other parents and students.

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