Jeff Meadors: A primer on dual enrollment

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

The annual April 1 deadline is almost here, so it's a good time to decode dual enrollment for eligible students. And there are changes.

House Bill 186 requires all secondary schools in Georgia to notify all current students in grades 8 through 11 of all early college options by April 1 of each school year.

With only two administrations of the SAT and ACT remaining before fall 2013 college admission deadlines, students need to move quickly to be prepared to enter the admissions pipeline.

The final ACT dates are April 13 and June 8 for students seeking fall 2013 admission. Students may learn more at www.actstudent.org.

The final SAT dates are May 4 and June 1. Students may learn more at www.collegeboard.com.

For participation in Board of Regents dual enrollment programs, where transferability of college credit is seamless within the University System of Georgia, students need to demonstrate minimum competencies on either the SAT or the ACT. Locally, according to the Georgia Perimeter website, that means an SAT math score of 440 or higher with a critical reading score of 480 or higher and a total SAT score of 970 or higher, or an ACT math of 18 or higher with an English score of 20 or higher and an ACT composite of 20 or higher.

Students must also present a sealed high school transcript demonstrating an unweighted core area GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, a parent consent form, immunization form, an online application and verification of lawful presence.

Completion of a FAFSA is not required for high school students participating in a dual enrollment program through Georgia's Accel program. However, students 18 years of age or who will turn 18 during the term for which Accel is being requested must submit a notarized affidavit and provide acceptable documentation to prove lawful presence in the United States at the time they submit their application for dual enrollment. This is new for fiscal year 2014.

The Georgia Student Finance Commission stands ready to assist at 770-724-9000 or by email at clientservices@gsfc.org. GSFC will also be present at the Rockdale County College Fair on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at RCA. Colleges with dual enrollment programs, like Georgia Perimeter College, will also be present.

Acceptable documents to verify lawful presence in the state of Georgia for GSFC include, but are not limited to:

-- A current driver's license issued by the state of Georgia after Jan. 1, 2008 (Learner's permits are not acceptable according to GSFC)

-- A certified U.S. birth certificate showing the student was born in the U.S. or a U.S. territory

-- A current U.S. passport

-- A current ID issued by the state of Georgia after Jan. 1, 2008

Dual enrollment represents public school choice at its very best for Georgia's high school juniors and seniors. Multiple House Bills, 149, 186, 326, and the Bridge Act, House Bill 400, show the high value placed on dual enrollment by Georgia lawmakers.

It's time to take the leap.

Jeff Meadors is District 1 representative on the Newton County Board of Education and a member of the RCA Board of Directors. He may be reached at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com.