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GBHS student takes advantage of waived tuition Barton courses
edu slt free classes
Junior Greg Burley gets ready to work in his Computer Concepts class on Monday. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Some popular courses that qualify include:
Fundamentals of Mechanics
Computer Concepts
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Technical Drafting
AC/DC Circuit Fundamentals
Principles of Phlebotomy
Nursing Home Aide
Orientation to Pharmacy Technician

Great Bend High School student Greg Burley has a lot on his mind, just like any typical high school student. Between football, wrestling and his duties as junior class president he has a lot on his plate. Even with a full load of responsibility, Burley has been able to look ahead to his future and make the smart decision to take advantage of career technical classes available with no tuition charged through Barton Community College, which was made possible with the passing of Senate Bill 155 effective July 1.
Dozens of Barton’s career and technical classes, both online and on-site, qualify under the bill’s framework. That means students can take advantage of classes at no cost to them, except textbooks and program fees as applicable.
“Free money is free money,” he said.  “It’s just in a different form, and in the long run it’s going to help me on my student loans and help me reduce my debt level and will really help me when I start looking at four-year institutions.”
Burley is currently enrolled in a Computer Concepts class taught at GHBS, and said he plans to take advantage of any qualifying courses through the high school or on the Barton campus that could help him towards his career.
“I’d really like to use chemical engineering as a path into pre-med and possibly be an anesthesiologist at a hospital or surgical care center, so anything that qualifies for SB155 that can help me in my major, I want to take them because they are obviously cheaper,” Burley said.
Dean of Workforce Training Elaine Simmons said Burley and other students taking advantage of SB155 should utilize the program for the financial benefit, but that there are other benefits as well.
“There are more options that fall under the umbrella of career technical education than people realize,” she said. “From accounting to welding, and everything in between, this is a great opportunity for kids to sample different careers without such a huge financial investment.”  
“Not all careers require four to eight years of education. Some of the programs we offer at Barton only require a couple of semesters or a year or two, and for these career education degrees or certificates, it is possible through this bill for students to either complete a certificate, or only need minimal credits after high school and they will be ready to enter the workforce and start making money.”
Simmons said her team is making a significant effort to work with area school districts to educate them on the options Barton has to offer.
“We are having more focused dialogue, and we are working individually with school districts to see what their needs are based on their students,” Simmons said.
Those interested in taking advantage of the program should contact Barton’s Admissions Department, 620-792-9286 for details.