By John Hummer
A new program for students in Jackson County public high schools can save families a lot of money while students earn college credits while they are still in high school.
Called the Jackson County Early College program, students who enroll can earn an associate’s degree, an occupational certificate, or up to 60 transferable college credits towards a bachelor’s degree while completing the thirteenth year of school.
“It’s another great option that Jackson County schools have added,” said Jean Logan, the program’s administrator. The Jackson County Intermediate School District oversees implementation of the program.
Students attend most, if not all, of their classes at a Jackson College campus, although some classes may be offered in local districts or online. The program will help students transition to college and guide them in their career pathways.
“While students are working to complete their high school graduation requirements, they’re also earning college credits,” Logan said.
The early college program is the fifth year of a high school/college educational plan. Students must take a math or math-related course as part of the curriculum.
Logan recently presented the program to students and families at Napoleon High School.
“It’s going to be a great program,” said NHS co-principal Patrick Dillon. “It’s a great option for students that aren’t going to get a ton of scholarship money or don’t have other means to pay for college right away and plan on sticking around Jackson County. It will let them get a lot of their prerequisites done in a pretty friendly way for them financially compared to if they went to a four-year school right off the bat. You’re paying almost nothing for them.”
Students receive their high school diploma upon exit from the early college program and get to participate in graduation and graduation activities. JCEC student success navigators will help students develop a plan of action to complete a skill set, concentration, certificate, or degree. And successfully transfer to another college.
There are currently over 11,000 students in the state of Michigan who participate in an early college program. The program is new to Jackson County.
Jackson County’s current freshmen and sophomore students who are interested in the program must complete a pre-application soon for the 2018-19 academic year. Their application is then processed by JCEC personnel and then their high school counselor finalizes course requests. An orientation for students and parents will take place later this month. In August, JCEC students attend a “boot camp” before beginning classes.
“It’s a win for families and students and it’s also a win for local school districts,” Dillon said.
For more information on the JCEC program, visit www.jcisd.org/JCEC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.