Published: Sep 16, 2011 9:15 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 16, 2011 9:41 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- The number of Lee County students taking part in the International Baccalaureate program is up and getting the top diploma is helping families save money on going to college.

In just the few weeks Cape High principal Matthew Mederios has taken over the school, there has been plenty of praise from the district. The number of students taking part in the school's I.B. program is up. About 278 students have signed up for the rigorous course work this year. Last year, only 56 students who took the class received the top diploma.

Graduates credit the program for preparing them for college at a time when getting into a university is highly competitive and expensive. Students who receive an I.B. Diploma can earn up to 45 college credits. For example, it'll cost you $184 per credit to go to Florida Gulf Coast University. That's about a $8,298 savings in tuition.

A part of the I.B. ciriculum still gives students enough time to become involved outside of the school.

Cape High offers an art and business I.B. program.