By Daniel Hall – firstname.lastname@example.org – Staff Writer | Feb. 11, 2015 |
Starting in fall 2015, UNC Asheville will open its campus to students from Asheville High School and the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville.
The agreement, signed on Feb. 5 by Mary Grant, chancellor of UNCA, and Pamela Baldwin, Asheville City Schools superintendent, will give students at both schools the opportunity to dual enroll at UNCA. They will be able to attend classes on campus alongside regular university students.
“Students who participate in the program from the Asheville schools will be able to take real college courses for real college credits,” Grant said, “which expedites the time toward a degree and exposes them to a higher level of work.”
Grant said the students will be able to experience university life firsthand and get a head start for when they graduate from high school and enroll in university full time. She hopes UNCA students will benefit from the experience and an opportunity to act as mentors and guides to their juniors.
Annie Burton, executive director of school and community engagement at UNCA, said prospective students will have access to the university’s entire course catalog, depending on the student’s academic track. There will also be dual-credit courses, which will count for both high school and college credit.
She said the cost for students will be the same as regular in-state tuition, prorated based on level of enrollment. The more courses a student enrolls in, the higher the cost, just like for any UNCA student.
But Baldwin said she does not want cost to be a barrier for those looking to dual enroll, so the systems will cooperate, through scholarships and other means, in helping students financially.
Jacquelyn Hallum, chairman of the Asheville City Schools Board of Education, emphasized that the agreement establishes the program’s format as it further develops. Details such as financing will be solidified over the coming months.
“We’re just excited to give our students an opportunity to really work with a wonderful university, an opportunity to have exposure to college, and to hopefully see them move toward a four-year degree or a two-year degree in any area that they’re interested,” Baldwin said.
Symoné Simmons, a senior at SILSA, will graduate before the program becomes active. She said she wishes it had been around before since she would have liked to attend classes on the UNCA campus.
Simmons said this program, like the dual-enrollment program at A-B Tech, offers high school students a chance to get an idea of what is expected from them at college, such as talking directly with college admissions counselors about what students should be doing to increase the odds of acceptance at the university of their choice.
Grant said she hopes all students will eventually have the opportunity for dual-enrollment. To that end, UNCA will monitor the program’s development as they consider expanding the arrangement to other high schools.
“I’m grateful that we’re going to be opening up our campus even more broadly to the incredible students of the public schools in the city of Asheville,” Grant said. “That’s what we should be doing.
We want you all to succeed. We want you all to flourish. And we cannot do any of the work we do without a working partnership with the schools. So I’m just thrilled by this.”