Dual enrollment funding to remain similar

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Georgia Perimeter College anticipates student funding levels for its dual enrollment programs to remain the same or similar to this past year.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission announced Thursday that "there are no anticipated changes to the general eligibility or award amounts" next school year for the Accel dual enrollment program, which is funded through the Georgia Student Finance Commission, pulls from HOPE hours and allows high students to be enrolled part time or full time at GPC.

"House Bill 326, the bill making significant changes to the HOPE programs, was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on March 15, 2011," said Timothy Connell, president of the commission, in a letter to the college. "House Bill 326 did not include changes to the Accel program because Accel is based upon regulation and not statute."

For Fiscal Year 2012 and beyond, the program will be funded through state general funds not lottery funds, he said.

"At a public institution, the award amount will continue to include full tuition, HOPE-approved mandatory fees and a book allowance," he said. "At a private institution, the award amount will be $4,000 per year."

He said further details, like exact book allowance award amounts, will be provided once program regulations are finalized.

Things are a little more unsure for students in the Move On When Ready dual enrollment program, which requires students to be enrolled in classes full time at a post-secondary institution without taking classes at their high schools, doesn't provide full funding and doesn't pull from their HOPE hours.

Jeff Meadors, coordinator for dual enrollment at GPC, said the Georgia Department of Education recently advised him that students next year still will receive funding based on their student hours, like they have this past year. He said things could change, but he doesn't expect any significant changes.

He said the college did not originally expect so few changes to the programs, since HOPE and Pre-K funds were expected to be cut by the state.

"This keeps high school students from paying out of pocket for tuition," Meadors said.

In the program, students can take courses in various English, math, science, history, arts and foreign language classes, among others. This year, sign language will be added to the foreign language courses.

Currently, 842 students are enrolled in dual enrollment programs at all of GPC's campuses; 140 students attend the Newton campus, which is the third highest population for GPC.

Twenty-two students from the Newton County School System are part of the MOWR program at GPC -- nine at Eastside High School, eight at Alcovy High School and five at Newton High School. Twenty-four are in the Accel program -- 14 at Eastside, nine at Newton High and one at Alcovy.

Ten students from Rockdale County Public Schools are in the MOWR program at GPC -- four at Heritage High School and three each at Salem and Rockdale County high schools. Six Salem High students are part of the Accel program, and 24 Heritage High School students are part of it.

Other students who attend GPC's Newton campus come from private institutions and other area public schools like Morgan, Jasper and Walton counties. In the fall, high school students at Peachtree Academy will be able to be part of the dual enrollment program at GPC for the first time; it is the only private institution in Newton County that is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

GPC also offers dual enrollment at a Rockdale satellite center at the Rockdale Career Academy and online.

Any interested students wanting to participate in the dual enrollment program at GPC have until July 1 to submit admission materials and until August to register for fall 2011 classes. High school juniors and seniors with at least a 3.0 grade point average and an SAT score of 970 or an ACT score of 20 are eligible to be in the program.

More information about dual enrollment and applying to GPC is available by contacting Meadors at Jeff.Meadors@gpc.edu or 770-278-1309 or visiting www.gpc.edu/dualenrollment.