GPC to join Move On When Ready

COVINGTON -- Georgia Perimeter College wants its students and prospective students to move on to college when they are ready.

The school signed on to participate in House Bill 149, Move On When Ready, which passed in early 2009 as a program to provide 11th- and 12th-grade students an opportunity to attend post-secondary colleges and schools for high school credit.

Although high school students can attend post-secondary institutions in dual enrollment programs, students attending the colleges and universities under MOWR can attend full-time and do not pull hours from their 127 HOPE hours.

"GPC is committed to student success and student access to a high quality college education," said Dr. Margaret H. Venable, assistant vice president in the offices of Early College & Academic Initiatives and Academic & Student Affairs. "We hope more students will see the advantages of dual enrollment and will enroll in college classes earlier because of the incentives provided by the MOWR and other dual enrollment options."

Although GPC officials said some post-secondary schools aren't signing on to the program due to funding issues since money from the Georgia Department of Education for dual enrollment students will go to the college instead of the high school. Jeff Meadors, coordinator for Dual Enrollment at GPC, said the school's enrollment is expected to grow from the implementation of the program.

"We want to increase enrollment," he said. "Our main goal is always student achievement ... but until (the Newton Campus was built), many area kids' HOPE money sat on the shelf."

He said GPC wants to work with eligible students -- juniors and seniors in high school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in core high school courses and a total SAT score of 970 or higher in verbal and math or a composite ACT score of at least 20 -- to place them in the right dual enrollment program at any GPC campus.

GPC will continue to offer the current dual enrollment program, ACCEL, which is funded through the Georgia Student Finance Commission, pulls from HOPE hours and allows students to be enrolled part time or full time at GPC. And the college will admit other students into the new MOWR program beginning with the fall semester, as the law becomes effective July 1.

"I think it's a great program for the right student," he said.

Some students may be advised to start off in ACCEL to make sure they are comfortable taking post-secondary classes and then enroll in the MOWR program, which requires students to be enrolled in classes full time at a post-secondary institution without taking classes at their high schools. Students who drop out of the program are not allowed to reenter it.

"It encourages students to literally move on to college as full-time college students whenever they are ready for that challenge rather than waiting until after 12th grade," Venable said. "If a student is academically ready for college-level course work, why not take college classes for free, ease the transition into college while still in high school and shorten the time to college degree completion?"

Additionally, the ACCEL program provides a book allowance for students, but MOWR does not, although lab fees and other fees are covered.

This month, Meadors and his team, as well as high school counselors in Newton and Rockdale counties, are speaking to high school students about the two options that GPC will offer this fall at all of its campuses.

At first, students in MOWR are allowed to take the same classes as students in the ACCEL program -- various English, math, social studies, sciences and language courses in regular or honors classes. In the future, Meadors expects the course list to expand.

Officials from the Office of Dual Enrollment, as well as current students enrolled in Dual Enrollment, will be on hand at the Newton Campus' upcoming open house.

It is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the lobby of Building 2 at the campus on 239 Cedar Lane, off Ga. Highway 11, in Covington.

At the open house, students can submit applications and admission documents in time for the summer semester and can get their immunizations for a charge; application fees are waived for first-time applicants at the open house.

More information is available at www.info.gpc.edu.