Forty-eight high-achieving Central Iowa students graduating from high school late next month will already have earned their associate’s degrees from Des Moines Area Community College. According to DMACC officials, it’s the highest number yet to earn a DMACC degree while still in high school. “In some cases, the high school seniors who earn their two-year degree will be entering college as juniors,” said Mark Steffen, DMACC’s executive director of program development. “This will save them thousands of dollars in tuition costs, while giving them greater academic clout as they choose a university and apply for scholarships.” The DMACC Career Advantage program offers college-level classes in 64 high schools across Central Iowa, and because the classes are paid for by the public school districts, the credits are free to most participating students. Last year, more than 17,000 high school students were enrolled in DMACC Career Advantage classes.