Michigan is turning to early college programs to introduce high school students to college challenges, reports the Lansing State Journal.
Kaitlin Kennedy, 17, didn’t have “real plans” for college as a student at Lansing’s Eastern High School.
“For one thing, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” Kennedy said. “For another, my family doesn’t have a lot of money.”
But the chance to attend Lansing Community College at no cost seemed too good to pass up.
There are 26 early or middle colleges in Michigan, schools that blend high school and college course work to varying degrees.
All but a few opened their doors in the last five years after the state, searching for solutions to Michigan’s lagging levels of educational attainment, began funding their creation with grants.
They are meant for those who may never have gone to college at all or who were more likely drop out once they got there.
Lansing’s early college program gives enrollment priority goes to first-generation and low-income students in the county. Abilities vary. Some students will take high school classes at the college through the end of senior year, but half are taking some college-level classes this semester. The goal is to enable students like Kennedy to complete an associate degree by the end of the three-year program.