With the economy uncertain and admission to state universities as freshmen not guaranteed, a high school that offers students a chance to complete up to two years of college for free sounds too good to be true. But Polk Community College is trying to do just that with two charter schools — Polk Community College Collegiate High School in Lakeland and Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School in Winter Haven, whose primary purpose is giving motivated high school juniors and seniors that opportunity, The Ledger reports. From an initial handful of students when the Lakeland program began operating in 2002, enrollment has grown to allow 225 students in Lakeland and 250 at Chain of Lakes, which began taking students in 2006. Both often have waiting lists. ‘Parents and students are looking for something nontraditional,’ said Sallie Brisbane, director of the Lakeland collegiate school. ‘What we offer is, I like to tell parents, something you can’t get in a traditional high school.’ More than 500 people, a mixture of parents and potential students, attended two information-application programs earlier this month.

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