"Amarillo College and Ascension Academy are will formalize an agreement offering Ascension students the opportunity to pursue full general-studies associate degrees – beginning in the ninth grade – through AC’s Diplomas and Degrees Program.
AC President Russell Lowery-Hart and Ascension Academy Head of School William Summerhill will sign a Memorandum of Understanding during a ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 in the rotunda at Ascension Academy.
Amarillo College launched Diplomas and Degrees in 2009 to enable top-performing students in AC’s Dual Credit network to begin working toward associate degrees as high school freshmen.
Successful graduates sometimes begin their university careers as full juniors.
However, schools or school districts in the Dual Credit network must formally opt in as partners of the AC initiative before students may take part in it.
Ascension Academy will become the fifth partner in the Diplomas and Degrees Program, joining Amarillo Collegiate Academy, Bushland, Canyon and Highland Park schools.
“We are extremely pleased to reach an agreement that formally connects Amarillo College with a school as obviously committed to student scholarship and college preparation as Ascension Academy,” said Jason Norman, AC’s director of P-16 career pathways advisement and co-director of dual credit.
“These students will graduate from college faster, start their careers sooner and do so at considerable savings. The cost of dual credit courses is as affordable as it gets – $50 a credit hour – and since they are still in high school, families are probably saving on two years of room and board, too. But the time saved is probably paramount,” he said. “You really cannot accurately place a value on a young person’s time.”
Approximately 40 of the 60 credit hours needed to graduate from AC are offered through the Dual Credit Program. Mainstream college courses, primarily electives, comprise the remaining hours needed for high school students to obtain a degree, and those are completed predominantly during summers at AC.
Diplomas and Degrees is a highly challenging, four-year commitment for those whose eighth-grade Texas Success Initiative (TSI) scores demonstrate college readiness. Applicants to the program also must be approved by both the College and their high school.
For more information about AC’s Dual Credit Program, including Diplomas and Degrees, please contact Jason Norman, co-director, at (806) 371-5214."