FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — A new academic partnership could allow West Virginia students to possibly earn an associates degree by the time they graduate high school.

According to a press release sent Thursday, the West Virginia Virtual Academy (WVVA) and Pierpont Community and Technical College have partnered to offer dual credit classes toward an associate degree.

WVVA is a “tuition-free online public school serving grades K-12,” according to its website, that also emphasizes its “Stride Career Prep” program starting in sixth grade.

“Community colleges in West Virginia, in my opinion, are extremely underutilized,” WVVA Executive Director Doug Cipoletti said in the release. “Providing this type of opportunity to high school students will give them a leg up and the opportunity to be successful from a younger age.”

Cipoletti also said that the courses will allow student to earn credit at little or no cost.

The official Memorandum of Understanding between WVVA and Pierpont to solidify the partnership will be signed next week.