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Collegiate high school academy a next step for students

By Submitted, 03/5/19 4:23 PM

HOPE – Parents and rising tenth grade Hope High School students learned about the transition to college-level study and student life that the Hope Collegiate Academy at the University of Arkansas-Hope campus represents in a pre-application forum Monday night at UAHT.
The HCA is a cohort of Hope High School that is housed on the UAHT-Hope campus that includes students in grades 10-12 who study toward a high school diploma from HHS, and an Associate degree from UAHT at graduation.
Admission to the HCA is by application, with all required information submitted to the office of Dean of Academy Mikki Curtis by April 1.
UAHT Chancellor Chris Thomason told some 50 parents and students gathered in the Rapert Library Complex Auditorium that the HCA opened on the UAHT campus in the 2018-2019 academic year with a “pilot” class of 24 students from the Hope Public Schools District.
Thomason said the HCA is a direct partnership between UAHT and the Hope Public Schools District. Admission is open only to students enrolled in the HPSD.
“This is the only high school in Arkansas that will be allowed to do this,” Thomason said.
Based upon a successful model at Northwest Florida State College, he said the HCA represents a next step for Hope High School students who want to go to college by creating a “total immersion” college experience that begins with transition in the 10th grade year and becomes a complete college-level course of study in grades 11 and 12.
Students graduating from HHS through the program can receive a two-year degree from UAHT that makes them eligible to enter any four-year college or university in Arkansas at the third year, or “junior”, level, Thomason said.
Study at UAHT through the HCA is completely free of charge, he said.
“It’s a huge benefit for our community that the school district has provided,” Thomason said.
Admission is at the 10th grade level, and applicants must have a minimum ACT or equivalent score of 16 in all three placement areas to be considered for admission.
Curtis said applicants are screened based upon ACT/Accuplacer scores and the student’s academic record, based upon a three-tiered admissions system. She said should there be more applicants than available slots, admission is typically based upon additional consideration of grade point average, attendance record, and discipline record. Both she and Thomason noted that students will be accepted, generally, across all three tiers
Both Curtis and Thomason emphasized that the HCA encompasses all of the rigor of regular collegiate study, and the 10th grade transition schedule for students is intended to allow them to make the step. Consequently, scheduling in the first year is more standardized but more flexible in the second and third year.
“We will work with your schedule where you are,” Curtis said.
She said HCA students have access to college resources, college life and future financial aid. HCA students gain study skills, learn time management, and begin to direct their own path toward a career, Thomason said.
While “concurrent credit” classes for HHS students remain important, and have shown impressive growth, Thomason said the HCA is not a concurrent credit program. He said concurrent credit students can still theoretically graduate from HHS and receive an AA degree or certification from UAHT at the same time.
“We are going to give the support at any level to help ensure their success when they earn their high school diploma and associate degree,” he said.
Extracurricular student life at HHS is still possible in areas such as band and athletics for HCA students; but, college student life also opens up to them through campus organizations and access to all performances at Hempstead Hall.
Thomason also emphasized that four-year degree attainment costs are substantially reduced through the HCA because the first two years are free, but allow students to qualify for Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and other scholarship funding in the third and fourth years.