AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - A partnership between Aiken Technical College and Aiken County Public Schools now gives high school students an opportunity to start their college education early.
The partnership, known as Aiken Early College, allows high school juniors and seniors to complete courses that count toward both high school and college. Students can complete up to 36 college credits that transfer both to Aiken Technical College and all other South Carolina public colleges and universities prior to high school graduation.
Students who take advantage of Aiken Early College will choose from two pathways – a Pre-Engineering Academy pathway or a General Education pathway. Students will take courses on the Aiken Technical College campus, which offers small class sizes to help students ease their transition to the college environment.
In addition, Aiken Early College students will have a dedicated advisor, opportunities for students and parents to attend by-invitation only sessions on how to prepare for college, and access to free tutoring and other services to help them succeed.
"Aiken Early College is an opportunity for students to gain access to a supportive environment that can help ease the transition from high school to college," said Aiken Technical College President Dr. Susan Winsor.
"This new initiative allows motivated students to finish their college education early and save thousands of dollars in college costs, while taking advantage of opportunities that will help them succeed," Winsor said. "We are pleased to partner with the Aiken County School District in this effort to raise the educational attainment of Aiken County citizens."
Aiken Early College students can take advantage of courses in math, science, social sciences and the humanities. The school district and ATC have worked together to expand the number of courses available for dual credit.
"Aiken Early College provides our students a head start into their college career," said Aiken County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt. "The expanded course offerings expand the opportunities for students to be career and college ready."
Applicants for both of the Aiken Early College pathways will need to score at least 50/50 on the PSAT, or a combined 21 on the ACT, or at least 500/500 on the SAT. Applicants who do not meet these requirements may take the free COMPASS placement assessment through the ATC Testing Center.
South Carolina Lottery Tuition Assistance is available for all Aiken Early College students who are S.C. residents and enrolled in six credits per semester. Pre-Engineering Academy students can also apply for a scholarship established by former Senator Greg and Mrs. Betty Ryberg. The Ryberg STEM scholarship fund awards $1,000 scholarships to selected students in the Pre-Engineering Academy.
An Aiken Early College night will be held for interested students currently in the 10th and 11th grades at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 in the Aiken Technical College amphitheater.