BCCC offers new programs

Published 12:42 am Sunday, November 13, 2011

Area high school students will have the chance to take a variety of college courses tuition-free under a new program recently unveiled by Beaufort County Community College.

Enrollment is currently under way for high school juniors and seniors who want to earn credit for college courses while they are still in high school through the Governor’s Career and College Promise, according to Wesley Beddard, dean of instruction at BCCC.

Courses through the Career and College Promise Program are available to high school juniors and seniors from public, private and home schools.

The goal of the new program is to provide eligible high school students with the opportunity to accelerate the completion of college certificates, diplomas and degrees that lead to transfer to a four-year college or university or provide entry-level job skills tuition free while the students are still in high school, Beddard said.

That could mean a savings of as much as $24,308 toward a four-year degree at a public university for college-bound high school graduates and could mean a better-paying job for high school graduates headed toward careers.

“This is an exciting opportunity for local high school juniors and seniors,” Beddard said. “BCCC is pleased to participate in this new program.”

For many years, BCCC offered college classes to high school students through various programs created by the state Legislature. Recently, these were organized as the Beaufort College Academy.

But in 2009 state lawmakers eliminated funding that enabled BCCC and other community colleges to offer most general education courses other than math and science. This prevented enrollment in many of the most popular courses — such as art, economics, English, history, physical education and psychology — for high school students, according to Beddard.

During the 2011 session, the state Legislature appropriated funds for the Governor’s Career and College Promise Program. The major difference between the previous community college programs for high school students and the Career and College Promise is that high school students must apply and be admitted into a specific “educational pathway” in order to take any course at a community college, Beddard said.

And students may only take courses that are included in their specific pathway.

BCCC will offer three such pathways for students: Core 44 College Transfer Pathway, Career and Technical Education Pathway and Cooperative, and Innovative High School Pathway for Early College High School students.

These three options are similar to the previous offerings through the Beaufort College Academy. Each pathway has various eligibility requirements including a weighted grade point average of 3.0 on high school courses and students must be a high school junior or senior to enroll.

Registration for the Core 44 College Transfer Pathway is currently under way and will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 30. New students who can enroll at the start of spring 2012 semester on Thursday, Jan. 5, may take any courses scheduled for the spring semester that are on their pathways. BCCC will also offer three late-start classes beginning on Monday, Jan. 23, for students who cannot start classes until the end of fall semester classes for Beaufort County Schools.

Career and Technical Education Pathways will be available for high school students currently enrolled in cosmetology and welding classes at the college. BCCC is developing additional technical pathways for students to pursue beginning with the fall 2012 semester.

For specific eligibility requirements or to apply, prospective students should contact Crystal Ange, dean of student services at BCCC, at 252-940-6216.