Gainesville ISD and NCTC launch "Collegiate Academy"

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- Many school districts already partner with NCTC for dual credit college courses, but Gainesville ISD and NCTC are taking it a step further. Many Gainesville High School students will soon be taking college classes earlier than ever before.

The new pilot program allows students to start taking college classes as early as their freshman year. If they take part for all four years, they can potentially graduate high school already holding an Associates degree.

Beginning this fall, several Gainesville High School students won't just call this campus their home; they'll also be spending time at NCTC, getting a jump start on their college career.

"College readiness is something we're really striving to achieve. We want all our children, as they graduate, whether they go to college or not, to be prepared," Brasher

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Brasher says GISD's new Collegiate Academy will give students the preparation they need. NCTC officials say the early start is important.

"There are numbers out there that are saying that over 90 percent of all jobs in the future will, what will be needed is post secondary education and workforce training," Dean, Emily Klement said.

NCTC Dean Emily Klement says many area high schools allow their students to take college courses, starting their junior year. But the new collegiate academy will allow students to enroll as early as their freshman year. Right now, high school dual credit students make up 17 percent of NCTC's enrollment at all four campuses.

"They might want to be nurses in the future, or doctors, or business people, teachers, all of it. And now, we'll be able to provide that pathway for students," Klement said.

If students follow the course pathways already laid out for them they can earn up to 61 credit hours -- equivalent to an Associates degree by the time they graduate high school.

Both the school district and the college agree this will set students up for success.

"We hope that it will impact drop out rates in this area and in all of our school partners. And that certainly should have an effect on the Texas drop out rate, and that's critical and that's a serious issue," Klement said.

"We would hope that that would give them the self confidence to know that then they could go off to college and be successful. They can do it. And they can," Brasher said.

High school students who qualify for free and reduced school lunches, or are economically disadvantaged, can receive a cheaper tuition rate and in some cases can participate for free. For more information, contact the high school counselors at 940-665-5528.

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