COVINGTON -- The time is ripe for students who want to get a head start by taking college courses while still in high school.
Jeff Meadors, a member of the Newton County Board of Education, was recently promoted as college-wide coordinator for Dual Enrollment/Move On When Ready with Georgia Perimeter College.
He said this is an exciting time for preparing high school students for college.
"We are in a position to do a lot of good work for students at both the college level and the high school level," he said.
Meadors previously headed up dual enrollment and Move On When Ready at GPC's Newton Campus. Now he will coordinate Dual Enrollment at all the college's campuses, including Decatur, Clarkston, Dunwoody and Alpharetta. He works closely with the administration at the Rockdale Career Academy and the Newton College and Career Academy.
Students in 11th and 12th grade who meet certain academic standards can be eligible to enroll part-time in college -- dual enrollment -- or full-time -- Move On When Ready.
Meadors said GPC, which has the largest program in the state, has about 846 high school students enrolled, and about 10 percent of those are in the Move On When Ready program.
As a result of recently passed state legislation, high school students from public and accredited private and home schools, can take dual enrollment or Move On When Ready classes tuition-free. Meadors said tuition and most fees are paid for through the Georgia Student Finance Commission or through the FTE funds from the students' high school. The only out-of-pocket expense would be for books, he said.
Another change to take place came as a result of House Bill 326, which preserves students' 127 lifetime HOPE Scholarship credits until after they graduate high school. In other words, dually enrolled students will not use HOPE Scholarship money while in high school, Meadors said.
Meadors said House Bill 149, the Dual Enrollment Rule, has helped ease the transition of college credits into high school credits.
"One of our greatest challenges and one of the most important things is academic advisement." Meadors said. "We don't want to be the piece of a puzzle to keep students from graduating."
Under the Dual Enrollment Rule, a three-semester-hour GPC course returns to the high school as a 1.0 Carnegie Unit, he said.
This is important, Meadors said, because students need to know what they need to graduate for End of Course Tests and Carnegie units.
Other changes could be on the horizon, he said, that would provide incentives for schools based on the number of students in Advanced Placement classes and dual enrollment, for example.