For high school students looking to get an early feel for the college experience, UNC Asheville will be providing an opportunity for dual-enrollment starting with the fall 2015 semester. Students from Asheville High School and SILSA (School of Inquiry & Life Sciences at Asheville) are eligible, with a financial aid fund being set aside through the college’s advancement office.
UNCA Chancellor Mary K. Grant and Asheville City Schools (ACS) Superintendent Pamela Baldwin signed the agreement Jan. 5 at UNCA’s Ramsey Library.
“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,” said Grant, who took over the chancellor job five weeks ago. “We want you all to succeed and flourish, and we can’t do any of what we do without a working partnership between the schools. I’m thrilled by this. What a way to begin a chancellorship.”
Grant explained the program is designed to give high school students a real taste of college.
“This will allow them to take real college courses, for real college credits, and it expedites the time for a degree, and exposes them to a higher level of workmanship,” she said.
State tuition rates for the high school students will be identical to those attending UNCA, at a prorated rate depending on course load. Federal grant money will not be available, but Shannon Earle, senior director of admissions and financial aid, said funds are being presently allocated.
“Hopefully by this fall, funds will be set aside for them through the advancement office,” she said.
Baldwin said she does’t want to see cost as a barrier.
“Even with that cost, we work together as a system to help our students, so there are some scholarship opportunities and conversations that support those students financially. We see it as an opportunity to do some special things,” she said.
With students earning college credits earlier, Baldwin said a degree may ultimately be more attainable.
“We want to make sure our students have an avenue to see their options within the community, but also to extend their learning throughout their tenure here at Asheville City Schools and UNCA,” she said. “We’re excited to give our students the opportunity to really work with a wonderful university and hopefully see them move toward a two or four year degree in any area that they are interested.”