DeKalb Technical College to convert to semester schedule

COVINGTON -- DeKalb Technical College students will experience some schedule changes next year.

After previously operating under a quarter system, which divides the school year into four 10-week periods, DTC and the 25 other technical colleges under the Technical College System of Georgia will convert to a semester schedule, which splits the school year into 15-week fall and spring semesters.

"DeKalb Technical College is poised to meet students where they are, and take them where they want to be academically," said Dr. Robin Hoffman, president of DeKalb Tech, in a press release. "The semester system will help us achieve that goal by better aligning us with other educational institutions, whether it is high schools or other post-secondary schools."

The move will align the system's calendar with those of the state's K-12 public school systems, the University System of Georgia and most of the state's private colleges and universities -- 80 percent of public and private colleges and universities in the United States follow it.

"The change to a semester academic calendar is in the very best interests of our students," said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. "We're a world-class educational system for work force development, and a major part of our mission is to provide seamless education where calendars and curriculum align and lifelong learning is easily attainable for students of all ages and circumstances."

The TCSG will implement this change beginning in August.

"This entire transition will ultimately enhance student success," said Dr. Debra Gordon, DeKalb Tech's Dean of Student Support, in a press release. "Our immediate focus in academic affairs is on those students who are three quarters away from graduation. We want to make sure they can easily reach their graduation goal before the transition."

Currently, more than 2,500 students are within a few quarters of graduating, according to Cory Thompson, DeKalb Tech's Director of Public Relations and Information.

"Of the more than 8,000 students currently enrolled in credit programs, more than 75 percent will begin their academic career at DeKalb Tech under the quarter system, and end their studies here under the semester system," he said.

Advisement will begin this summer and continue through next summer to minimally disrupt the system's 190,000 students. DTC officials hope to make the transition seamless for students.

"We are strongly urging our current students to see their academic advisor so we will be able to guide them through this transition process," said Dr. Tanya Gorman, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at DeKalb Tech. "We have spent hours meticulously going through the academic calendar and curriculum to make sure everything is in place for students as they bridge the evolution between quarters and semesters."

The conversion will not affect students' state or federal financial aid, including Georgia's HOPE grant and scholarship programs. Annual tuition under the new semester system will be roughly equivalent to the annual cost under the quarter system; however, tuition will be paid three times a year instead of four times a year.

Class sizes also are not expected to increase on the semester system, nor will students' grade-point averages be affected.

Students can refer to www.TCSGSemester411.com, which features video messages about the conversion, a frequently asked questions page and the new academic calendar.