JEFF MEADORS: Move On When Ready provides best of both worlds

For public school students in grades 11 and 12 choice has come and it has a name, House Bill 149.

Effective since 2010 through the Georgia Legislature, the Georgia Department of Education calls Move On When Ready “an arrangement whereby an eligible student entering 11th or 12th grade who spent the prior school year in attendance at a public high school in Georgia, takes all of his/ her courses at or through an eligible institution (college, university or public technical college) and receives secondary credit from his/her high school with the goal of completing graduation and high school diploma requirements.”

All University System of Georgia institutions like Georgia Perimeter College qualify as eligible postsecondary institutions as defined in paragraph (7) of Code Section 20-3-519.

For many students it doesn’t get better than this. MOWR does not use HOPE credits. College courses return as a full high school year in the subject area, a 1.0 Carnegie unit per 3 semester hour college class, and MOWR students can participate in extracurricular activities at their high school. Locally Georgia Perimeter College, where total dual enrollment has surged more than 16 percent since spring 2013, has more than 100 MOWR students.

The law provides eligibility to participate in competitive interscholastic activities following the provisions of State Board Rule 160-5-1-18.

These students enjoy free core subject area tutoring, guidance and support on EOCT tests, academic advisement toward four-year college degree completion, access to college honors courses and priority registration, and fellowship with students from a variety of schools, counties, and walks of life while under the watchful gaze of parents, high school counselors and leadership, and college advisers.

MOWR law guides parents and per the Georgia DOE “requires a conference with your child’s high school counselor. In addition, the school counselor has a form for your signature ensuring that you have been advised about the dual enrollment/dual credit programs that are of interest to your child.”

So who is eligible for the early leap to full-time college life funded by the state?

The Georgia DOE markets eligibility as follows:

a. Be a high school junior or senior seeking a high school diploma from an eligible Georgia high school,

b. Be reported as enrolled in a public school for funding purposes during the preceding October and March full-time equivalent (FTE) program counts,

c. Be enrolled full time in an eligible college or university or public technical college as a dual credit student taking approved college-level courses,

d. Be a legal resident of Georgia,

e. Be on track to graduate and maintain satisfactory academic progress towards fulfilling applicable high school graduation requirements,

f. Meet all college admission and registration requirements, and g. Meet local system requirements.

Eligible students and their parents/guardians must schedule an advisement session with the high school counselor to discuss and select the appropriate program to meet both secondary and postsecondary program requirements.

Students may earn as few as 12 college semester hours (4 high school units) per semester and as many as 64 semester hours (22 high school units) over the junior and seniors years without touching post- secondary HOPE credits.

Columnist Jeff Meadors may be reached at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com