Early College is part of the “Learn & Earn” initiative launched by Governor Mike Easely in 2004. It provides the opportunity for students in grades 9 – 12 to earn both a high school diploma and a two-year degree or two years of transferrable credit in four or five years, tuition free. It is designed to attract students who are often under-represented in college: minorities, students from low-income families and those whose parents never attended college. Students in the early college gain the kind of advanced skills increasingly demanded in the workplace of the twenty-first century.
Any eighth grade student can apply to the early college; however, those who are under-represented, those who need financial assistance to attend college and those who are first generation college students are encouraged to apply. Selection is based on a consistent set of criteria set by the state of NC and the local selection committee. Eligible students will display an eagerness to accept rigorous coursework, enthusiasm for new and different approaches to learning, the ability to form and grow productive relationships with teachers, other students and the community, and leadership ability or potential.
Instead of attending a regular high school, students take all high school and college courses on one of the RCCC campuses. Applications for this program are available at your local middle school, and we encourage you to speak with your guidance counselor about this opportunity.