ATLANTA — The Georgia House has approved a bill letting Georgia high school students earn credit toward a diploma while taking some college-level courses.
Members voted, 165-0, in favor on Tuesday.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for review. That chamber already has passed a version of the bill, which is backed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
“It’s certainly a huge step in the right direction that says a 23-unit college-preparatory tract does not meet the needs of every student we teach,” Will Schofield, Hall County Schools superintendent, said when the Senate passed its version of the bill. “I’m very encouraged by what I see.”
House members removed a minimum age requirement of 16 years. The program would allow students to participate after completing two years of high school and completing specific classes.
“I think that this would really allow students to kind of take a step back and assess what their education goals are,”
Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College, has said. “If it’s in their lifestyle to leave high school after the 10th grade and begin their college work in earnest, it would allow them the opportunity to do that.”
Supporters say the change will encourage students interested in certain fields to pursue those sooner.
Perren has said the bill is a significant change from the Move On When Ready dual enrollment program, because it removes the necessity for continued enrollment in high school.
“In Move On When Ready, they are still technically in high school,” Perren said. “They’re working toward their high school degree and college degree at the same time. But this is really another tool that we could use to encourage people to get their high school education and college education.”
The state has a dual enrollment program that lets students take college-level classes while still in high school. But that program doesn’t count the credits toward high school graduation.