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Earn a Degree, Graduate Early – TCC Announces Pilot Program

by The Black Wall Street Times

Courtesy of Jason Reed/Reuters

TCC Announces Pilot Program Name Change; Expansion with Broken Arrow and Tulsa Public Schools

Students in the Broken Arrow Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools districts will be able to earn a college degree from Tulsa Community College at no cost to the student while they complete high school. 

EDGE: Earn a Degree, Graduate Early is a pilot program launched under the name of Early College High School with Union Public Schools in 2018. TCC is expanding the pilot in partnership with Tulsa and Broken Arrow and at the same time changing the name to EDGE. 

EDGE follows the same model and focuses on serving lower socioeconomic, first-generation underserved populations. The pilot expansion of EDGE requires special exception from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and is pending final approval.

“This is a nationally recognized high-impact practice to reach students from underserved populations with student support to help them succeed at the collegiate level,” said Dr. Leigh Goodson, TCC president and CEO. “EDGE, still in a pilot program, removes the financial barrier to a college degree and allows the student to transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree on an accelerated timeline.”

Beginning this school year, eighth-graders in TPS and BAPS will apply and be competitively selected to participate. From there, those students enroll in a rigorous college-prep curriculum as ninth-graders before entering EDGE in the 10th grade where students take a prescribed course schedule taught by TCC faculty.

Tulsa Public Schools is launching EDGE at two sites, McLain and Memorial high schools.

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“This is truly a life-changing program,” said TPS Superintendent Deborah A. Gist. “Our students are engaging in rigorous college courses when they are in high school while participating in a program designed specifically to support them throughout the entire experience. Our teams at McLain High School and Memorial High School could not be more excited about this collaboration. We encourage all interested eighth-graders to plan ahead for their high school experience and apply.”

Broken Arrow Public Schools is launching EDGE district-wide.

“We are very excited to expand our partnership with TCC,” said Dr. Kim Garrett, Director of High School Academics, Broken Arrow. “EDGE, which provides a no-cost path for all cohort students to earn an associate degree while in high school will fit within Broken Arrow’s current Early College High School structure and allow us to support more students achieving their dreams of college graduation.”

To learn more about EDGE as well as the application process for eighth-grade students, parents and students can attend one of the information meetings scheduled in January and February for Broken Arrow Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools. 

The 2020-2021 academic year also marks the first graduates of the pilot with Union Public Schools. In May, 27 students are expected to finish high school and earn an associate degree. In 2022, another 34 will graduate simultaneously and 48 in 2023. Union’s fifth cohort of 60 students will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The EDGE program has been the right program at the right time, especially in attracting first-generation college-goers at Union,” said Superintendent Kirt Hartzler, Union Public Schools. “Our first cohort of students will graduate in May with an associate degree, in addition to their high school diploma, firmly placing them on track for further college. This is a shot in the arm for Oklahoma in helping to improve college attainment rates.

The eighth-grade students selected to participate in EDGE as cohort 2025 will be announced later this spring. Visit dual credit programs at TCC for more information about EDGE.

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