Students at one local high school are getting a jump on a four-year degree thanks to a new college program.
Thirteen rising juniors at Lucy C. Laney High School received acceptance letters as incoming dual enrolled students at Augusta University. Their acceptance is part of the Early College High School Program. The students were recognized in a signing ceremony Friday, May 3, in the Lucy C. Laney High School Gymnasium. This is the first cohort of students to be accepted into the program.
This dual-enrollment program is part of the Georgia Early College Initiative and was created by Augusta University and the Richmond County School System to provide opportunities for high school students to earn both a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit towards a bachelor’s degree. The Early College High School Program is designed to make earning a college degree more accessible, affordable, and attainable by restructuring the educational experience for students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
“Collaborative partnerships between our local high schools and Augusta University provide exciting pathways for students to achieve their educational dreams,” said Dr. Gretchen Caughman, executive vice president of academic affairs and provost at Augusta University.
“The Early College Initiative is the first of its kind in the Augusta area. It provides students the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a high school diploma and earn college credits while experiencing first-hand what they can expect when attending college. It creates a pipeline of local qualified high school applicants who can be accepted at Augusta University and complete their bachelor’s degree at an accelerated rate right here in our very own city of Augusta. Through this program, students build self-confidence as they gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in college and their careers.”
In addition to creating a pathway to college, the program provides access to college through removing financial barriers for students and parents. A significant benefit to this program is that it utilizes funding offered by the Dual Enrollment Program, administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission. The Dual Enrollment Program awards full payment of tuition, mandatory fees and book costs up to 15 semester hours per term for two years for each of the Laney Early College students admitted to Augusta University.
“On average, undergraduate student loan debt is $27,000 and that could be cut in half or even eliminated with these two years of dual enrollment course work,” said associate vice president for enrollment services, Dr. David Barron.
The Memorandum of Understanding for the Early College High School Program was signed by officials from Augusta University and the Richmond County School System in 2017. For more information about the Lucy C. Laney Early College High School Program and the Early Learning Academy at Laney, call 706-823-6900.