Information for Parents

The College Now program from Gaston College is one of several options your student can take advantage of to get a head start on college and a career while they are still in high school. College Now is a dual-enrollment program that offers your student the opportunity to take tuition-free college classes while they are a junior and senior in high school. You’ve probably heard about AP classes and Early College, but College Now is different and has some unique advantages:

  • You and your student can save thousands of dollars in college tuition with this program (see our comparison chart below).
  • Qualifying tuition-free courses count directly toward a certificate, diploma or degree from Gaston College or transfer to a four-year school; while AP classes require more testing before college credit can be earned.
  • Most of the College Now classes are also what we call dual-credit courses. This means they take one class but earn high school class credit and college course credit at the same time. Many of them have the same weight as AP classes.
  • College Now is very flexible. Your student can take classes online, in-person, or through a hybrid format. Courses are available during the school day, evening, and over the summer break. So, they can take courses that fit their learning style and at a time that works for your family’s schedule.

College Now Cost Savings: A Sample Comparison

One of the most important advantages for you and your student is the money you can save on tuition. A college degree or specialized certifications open up many options for graduates.

College Now is the name of Gaston College’s Career & College Promise (CCP) program. CCP programs are supported by NC state provision and are designed to give students access to excellent college courses and training without burdening them with student loan debt. Take a look at the potential savings for your student and family with the College Now Program:

  College Now 1 Appalachian State 2 Gardner Webb 3 Belmont Abbey 4 UNC Charlotte 5
(Per Year) 
$0 $4,242 $31,610 $18,500 $3,812
Room & Board
(Per Year) 
$0 $8,173 $10,360 $10,294 $12,432
Books & Supplies
(Per Year) 
$0 – $1,326 * $700 $390 $1,200 $1,250
Misc. Fees & Expenses
(Per Year) 
$0 – $272 * $3,122 $2,650 $0 $3,041
Estimated Total Cost
(Over Two Years) 
$0 – $3,196 * $32,474 $90,020 $59,988 $41,070

*Many schools or districts cover some or all of the cost for books and/or fees for College Now students

Other Advantages of the College Now Program

Finances are important to you and your student, but the College Now program has some other significant benefits:

  • It’s flexible! Your student can take a single class; take multiple classes and make progress toward a degree, diploma or certificate; or even (for extremely motivated students) finish a complete two-year college degree!
  • Success in the College Now program provides your student the opportunity to gain a deeper confidence and stronger academic skills, in addition to allowing them to be more competitive for the job market and college admissions.
  • Technical certifications and courses are available for students who want to jump right into a well-paid career immediately after high school.
  • Gaston College is here to support your student’s success. College Now will challenge them, but we will help them rise to the challenge and excel with resources including:
    • The Gaston College Writing Center
    • Academic Tutors at the Learning Center
    • Technology Resources Support
    • Counseling & Career Development Center
    • Gaston College Library and Research Resources
    • Disability and Special Needs Resources: Gaston College is committed to providing equal access to higher education for individuals with disabilities. Read more about these resources.
  • Each year there are around 1,500 local students enrolled in the College Now program at Gaston College. Your student will find influential friends and classmates who are driven to succeed and work hard in school.

Timeline for Enrolling in College Now

Your student can start taking classes in the College Now program as early as the beginning of their junior year of high school and as late as the very end of their senior year of high school. Ideally, they should meet with their school counselor to talk about enrolling in College Now early in their sophomore year of high school (before registering for classes for their junior year).

College Now for Home-School Students

College Now is also available for home-school students! The same timeline for enrollment applies: students in their junior and senior years of high school studies may take tuition-free courses through Gaston College. Instead of discussing enrollment with a school counselor, discuss the program with your student and begin the application process online. You may also contact the Gaston College admissions team directly with questions or to request more information about the admissions and enrollment process. Call 704.748.5212 or send us an email.

Hear What Other College Now Parents Say

“As parents, the biggest advantage for us was the cost. Having three kids that will be in college almost all at the same time, really helped us out financially. Also, allowing the kids to experience college-level courses and expectations helped prepare them for the next step in life. We also loved the fact that they could continue to explore their interests and determine a potential major before applying and attending a 4-year college.”

— Parent of College Now Student

“With the flexibility of online classes that are offered during the regular school schedule and summertime, my son has been able to complete his first year of college requirements by the end of the first semester of his senior year. This is important to our family because our son is active in sports and in the community so the classes do not restrict his involvement.”

— Parent of College Now Student

“My advice to parents of a student who is interested in the CCP Program is- help your child prepare for what his/her goals are, meet with the career coach, understand what the program offers, and be supportive. In short, GET INVOLVED.”

— Parent of College Now Student

Next Steps You Can Take Today

Hopefully, you see some of the significant advantages of the College Now program. There are several things you can do to explore if this is a good path for your student:

College Now Guide - Large iPad preview

  1. Fill out the form below for your student to get a copy of the College Now Guide. It has detailed information about the program that will answer many of your questions. When you complete the form, you will be able to immediately download the guide to learn more.
  2. Discuss the program with your student. You can also encourage them to read about the program on our student page.
  3. Schedule a meeting for your student with their high school counselor so they can discuss the College Now program and the requirements for admission and enrollment. Even if they don’t qualify today they should be able to help you see some steps they can take to be able to enroll in the future.
  4. Make a list of your questions and any concerns to discuss with your student’s counselor.

By submitting your email and phone number you agree that Gaston College may follow-up with you and/or send additional information via email, phone and/or SMS messages.

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If you have any questions about College Now, you can always reach out to us at 704.922.2424 or send us an email, and we’ll help you take the next step in applying for the program.

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