DEARBORN, Mich. -

For many high school students, college seems out of reach as either too expensive, or just too much to handle.  

But, a free program in the Dearborn schools is giving students a reason to succeed.

It is an offer that's hard to refuse for many college minded students. "They incorporate college classes while still in high school and it saves a lot of money," said ninth-grader, Michael Gregory a student at Dearborn High School.

The program is called Henry Ford Collegiate Academy and students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in five years instead of six.

The program is free to students and their families. "That's a huge factor as to why I am doing it," said tenth-grade student Aja Moses from Edsel Ford High School.

Students who qualify, enter the program during 11th grade. They take regular high school classes at their high school and they take college classes at Henry Ford Community College.

"You get to stay in the same environment, it's not really not too much of a change as to a whole new school and whole new everything. You get to stay close to what you are use to, "said Gregory.

The number one concern most students in the program have is what will I miss: activities  sports, drama, clubs, homecoming or the prom.

"I was actually pretty nervous about that, I was telling my councilor like, am I going to miss prom. I don't want to miss my high school experience, she told me I would be able to do all of that, so I was really excited," said Moses.

The program is giving kids a jump start on collage without missing out on high school and it's free.

During March Local 4 is partnering with NBC News for Education Nation to highlight programs in the area helping Michigan kids succeed.