Georgia Students Celebrate National Early College Awareness Week This Week
Georgia high-school students who have the academic skills and the desire to put their education on the fast track have the option of early college. The statewide program, part of a national effort that lets a student earn a high school diploma as well as college credits, is being featured this week, March 26-30 through National Early College Awareness Week.
The program targets students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education – low-income minority students, and first-generation college students. It places students from these underrepresented groups into the college classroom on an accelerated schedule.
“As we seek to significantly increase Georgia’s college completion rates, tools such as Early College play an important role in giving these segments of the population support and access,” said David Morgan, the University System’s interim chief academic officer.
In Georgia, students in the program not only earn their high school diploma, but also at the same time they earn from one to two years of transferable college credit towards a bachelor’s degree. Many Early College students receive Associates Degrees before receiving their high school diploma.
Currently, Georgia has 11 partnerships between local K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions. Since Georgia’s program began in 2005, the graduation rate is 90 percent. In addition, 92 percent of the students earned college credit in FY2011 and 90 percent of Early College graduates enrolled in a postsecondary institution after graduation.
As part of the events happening across the nation, Georgia high schools and public colleges and universities have planned a number of activities to raise awareness of the program, including assemblies with community leaders and students who will share individual success stories with the program. Outstanding students, community leaders and higher education partners will also be honored at these events.
Staff from participating Early College high schools throughout the state also will reach out to local legislators to update them on the program and its goals for students.
Georgia’s program (posted at www.gaearlycollege.org) is coordinated and supported by the University System’s Early College Initiative and Jobs for the Future and has received start up funding from public and private sources. For more information on the national initiative, please visit www.earlycolleges.org.