High schools that offer students the opportunity to earn college credits and even associate degrees is the new buzz in Florida, thanks to the success of The Collegiate Academy at Leto High School as well as a bill in the Florida Legislature that would encourage more schools to have similar programs.
Leto's Collegiate Academy opened in August 2013 and offers students an opportunity to earn an Associate of Arts degree and a high school diploma, at the same time, through its partner institution Hillsborough Community College (HCC). The collegiate academy allows students to work for an associate's degree and is free.
Florida state Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg thinks should be more programs like the one at Leto. The Lutz Republican is aiming to get institutions in Florida's college system to cooperate with school districts in order to establish collegiate high schools, according to an article by Erin Kourkounis of The Tampa Tribune.
Two other high schools, Armwood and Lennard, opened collegiate academies this past fall and have 190 total students enrolled in the program. Around 190 students are enrolled in Armwood and Lennard high school's Collegiate Academies that have started this school year, writes Erin Kourkounis of The Tampa Tribune.
Legg believes that this bill is going to be a call for the community and state colleges to make an effort that would be engaging high school students in college level courses.
"Only about half of our state colleges do this. We've told the state colleges the bottom line is we need to find a way to provide more access," Legg said.
The bill would require that the school districts pay tuition costs for students who are going to taking free dual-enrollment courses at the state colleges.
Not just any student can enroll, however. The application progress is considerable, and has prerequisites for math, reading and writing. Students must also maintain a 3.0 GPA to participate.