The Mountain Times

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State announces early-college expansion

Gov. Peter Shumlin and education officials announced Dec. 19 that five colleges, including four in the Vermont State College system, will in the 2014 academic year begin offering programs to high school students, exposing more kids to higher education options.
Vermont Technical College has offered early-college options for years though its Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) program. Early college program access will now expand to include Burlington College, Castleton State College, Community College of Vermont, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College. In these early college programs, students attend college during their senior year of high school on a full-time basis.
"Ensuring more Vermont students have exposure to higher education is critical to supporting students and their families in reaching their dreams," said Gov. Shumlin. The program expansion was proposed by the Governor as part of the Flexible Pathways Act, and passed by lawmakers during the last legislative session. That act also expanded internships, encouraged more virtual learning opportunities, and access to dual enrollment opportunities.
"This state is dealing with an economic and civic imperative," said Chancellor Tim Donovan. "Too few students go on to a post-secondary experience. We are committed to building the strong partnerships with high schools that will allow these early college programs to play a crucial role in addressing that challenge."
Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca and Rebecca Holcombe, who will become Secretary in January, noted that studies in other states show early access opportunities are associated with better outcomes for students in high school and college, improving high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, college grade point averages and progress toward college completion. In addition, these programs ease the high school-to-college transition for students who may not otherwise consider college and for those with an interest in technical careers.