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Georgia Students Celebrating National Early College Awareness Week

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Atlanta — May 4, 2009

This week (May 4-9) is National Early College Awareness Week. As part of events to be held nationwide, Georgia high schools and public colleges and universities have planned a number of activities to raise awareness of the program – which puts high school students from groups underrepresented on college campuses into the college classroom on an accelerated schedule.

National Early College Awareness Week activities will include assemblies with community leaders and students who will share individual success stories with the program. Outstanding students, community leaders and higher education partners also will be honored at these events. As part of the weeklong celebration, officials from participating Early College high schools throughout the state will reach out to local legislators to update them on the program and its goals for students.

“The Georgia Early College Initiative opens doors for all students, regardless of their background,” said University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “These unique schools provide an opportunity for students to start earning college credits as early as 11th grade. Later this month, Georgia’s first such school – the Carver Early College High School, a partnership between the Atlanta Public Schools and Georgia State University – will graduate its first class, and all 79 students have been accepted by at least one two-year or four-year college. I call that an impressive accomplishment.”

In Georgia, the Early College program provides students with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and one to two years of transferable college credit towards a bachelor’s degree. The program targets students that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education – low-income minority students, those for whom English is a second language and first-generation college students. Since Georgia’s program began in 2005, approximately 1,600 students have enrolled in Early College Programs available through 12 partnerships between local K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions.

Georgia’s program (posted at http://www.gaearlycollege.org) is coordinated and supported by the University System’s Early College Initiative and Jobs for the Future with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

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