By Alex Spinelli – Collegiate Staff
Grand Rapids Community College is partnering with Grand Rapids Public Schools to create the Early Middle College program. This program is purposed to benefit current high school students by allowing them to graduate with a high school diploma as well as having the chance to earn an associate’s degree for free by completing one extra year of school. In the program, this is called their Thirteenth Year.
This saves the students the money they would have spent on a traditional college experience, and gives them the opportunity to earn the credentials to show them as being more marketable toward employers. It is also something they can take to a four-year school and only need two more years in order to achieve a bachelor’s degree.
“Grand Rapids Community College is excited to partner on this,” Coordinator of Retention, Christopher Sain said. This is another innovative way to support students on their academic journey.”
The three high schools currently that partner in the program are Cedar Springs, Wyoming and Ottawa Hills.
“The success rate (at Cedar Springs and Wyoming) is a 72 percent graduation rate and that’s compared to the college graduation of 52 percent,” Sain said.
The Early Middle College Program at Ottawa Hills “kicks off the first cohort in the fall 2017 school year with current GRPS sophomores and juniors”, said Sain.
Current high School students are able to be enrolled in the program through a selection process guided by their parents, teachers and counselors. They are based on their capacity to complete the program and are picked from the top 25 at a time for a total of 50 students. For more information, students can go to grcc.edu and contact the Dean of Academic Outreach, Dan Clark, at firstname.lastname@example.org.