Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson and Atlanta Public School (APS) Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen announced a new automatic acceptance program this week.
"Georgia Tech is committed to the Atlanta community, and we are pleased to partner with Atlanta Public Schools to not only offer admission to these deserving young people, but also to provide resources they need to succeed," Peterson said.
To qualify for APS Scholars, students must be a valedictorian or salutatorian at an Atlanta Public School, and also have completed prerequisite course work through Georgia Tech. The program will start running in the summer of 2015.
Students will still need to complete the admissions process, which includes filling out an application, in order to enter Georgia Tech as an incoming freshman.
A district statement announcing the initiative said the purpose of the program is to "increase exposure and access to Georgia Tech for Atlanta Public Schools' most prepared students."
Existing state scholarship programs already offer full-tuition scholarships to Georgia Tech and other state schools for school valedictorians and salutatorians, so long as the student maintains a grade point average of at least 3.0. The APS Scholars Program would offer free tuition for four years at Georgia Tech, even with a lower GPA, writes Molly Bloom for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Thirty-eight students each year would be eligible for the program.
"Through a combination of the various financial aid opportunities available, including our own Georgia Tech Promise Program, the Governor's REACH Georgia Program and other state and federal financial aid programs, we will help ensure that these students can make a Georgia Tech degree a reality," Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson said in a written statement.
Current tuition at Georgia Tech is $9,002.
The initiative furthers Georgia Tech's efforts to spread educational opportunities throughout the community, according to Rosemary Jean-Louis for GPB. Earlier this year the institution offered its first MOOC (massively open online course), which will go towards a master's degree in Computer Science. Carrying a cost of slightly less than $7,000 the MOOC was created by a partnership with AT&T, who supported the effort with $2 million, and Udacity, who hired extra staff to give more technical support and field incoming student questions.
"This program addresses a clear and growing need globally: to provide flexible, high-quality education in vital fields for a price that's affordable for working professionals," said Nelson Baker, Georgia Tech's dean of professional education. "Almost every student enrolled this spring is also working full time, something that would be extremely difficult to do in a traditional program."