Early College Program gives students a head start
Seniors at Butler Area Senior High School can earn free, transferrable college credits at Butler County Community College through a Butler Area School District Early College Pathway pilot program that begins this fall. The initiative will be funded by the Butler Area School District, and partially by the BC3 Education Foundation. The school district also anticipates possible financial contributions from businesses and organizations.
Funding will cover the cost of tuition, fees and books for select BC3 courses in fall 2021 and in spring 2022, and the transportation of seniors to BC3’s main campus Monday through Friday mornings. Seniors can earn free BC3 credits in select courses in each semester, and also pursue additional credits in an elective course at their own cost during mornings on BC3’s main campus. Credits earned at BC3 will be also applicable toward the student’s graduation requirements at Butler Area Senior High School. A three-credit college writing course and a one-credit college study skills class will be funded this fall, and a three-credit research writing course will be funded next spring. Three-credit elective courses available this fall to Butler Area seniors will be general psychology, speech and contemporary world history and next spring, microeconomics. Seniors can transfer BC3 credits toward BC3 associate degrees and toward bachelor’s degrees at public, private and online four-year colleges and universities.
“We are thrilled that our colleagues at BC3 agreed to open their classroom doors and welcome our high school students to their campus,” said Dr. Brian White, Butler Area School District superintendent. “There are many benefits to dual enrollment. I believe the Early College Pathway will be a positive opportunity for our students.”
“It’s exciting from our perspective,” said Dr. Nick Neupauer, BC3 president, “because it demonstrates a great partnership with a great school district in our own backyard. To give these students the opportunity to not only take college courses, but to do it on our main campus, and to get a true feel of what the overall college experience is like, is an incredible win for these students, their families and the community as a whole.”
The Butler Area School District also intends to include youth empowerment training in its Early College Pathway program. The BC3 Education Foundation will financially support the one-credit college study skills course this fall through president’s initiative funding and through Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit program gifts.