Five Vt. Colleges to Offer Early Programs

Montpelier — Five more Vermont colleges will start offering early college programs to high school students starting next year to help get more Vermont students beyond high school, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Thursday.

Vermont Technical College has been offering its Vermont Academy of Science and Technology program for 25 years. Starting next fall, eligible high school seniors can also attend college while finishing high school tuition-free at Burlington College, Castleton State College, Community College of Vermont, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College.

While Vermont’s high-school graduation rate is among the top in the country, only about 50 percent of graduates go on to college, and half of those complete their education in four years, officials said. Many who do not pursue higher education could not envision themselves in college or did not have the family support to envision themselves there, said Vermont State College Chancellor Tim Donovan.

“We know that if we could use the existing money that we’re spending on education in high school right now use some of those resources to get those who chose to get a year of college while they’re in high school it’s a huge win in ensuring that we get more kids beyond high school,” Shumlin said.

The program will be limited to 18 students each at Burlington College, Castleston State College, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College in the first three years with no cap on the number of students participating at Community College of Vermont. Officials expect students to be interested around Vermont. The number of students participating in early college at Vermont Technical College has grown from 30 to 60 students in the last 21/2 years, said President Philip Conroy.