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Mayor's Minute August - Elevate Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program

Across the nation, the rising cost of college education is making it harder for young people to pursue their dreams of a higher education, and students in the City of Tuscaloosa are no exception. When we passed Elevate Tuscaloosa, one of our main priorities was working to close the achievement gap between students of different socio-economic backgrounds. Towards this end, in January of this year, Elevate Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa City School system (TCS) announced the Elevate Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program.

This initiative aims to make college more affordable for high school seniors in our city. Beginning this fall, with the class of 2021, TCS seniors may take up to six fully-funded hours of college credit courses at the University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College, or Stillman College.

TCS administrators have worked with all three institutions of higher learning to identify core courses that will apply to any major. These courses will be fully funded by Elevate – including books and fees. These course credits can be used towards a degree at these institutions, or transferred to other schools around the country to give our seniors a leg up on achieving their dreams of higher education.

But beyond the credit and the tuition savings, studies have shown that introduction to college courses in high school prepares students for the demands of college/university courses. I remember when I was a freshman at UAB, experiencing a rude awakening from the increased rigor of college courses. Taking college courses in high school will help our students get acclimated to this change and know what it takes to succeed in college before they enroll fulltime.

Last week I was thrilled to learn that thanks to the excellent administration at TCS, who won a national award for how well they communicated about this program to their students, 405 of the 488 eligible seniors in the class of 2021 have registered for dual enrollment courses this fall! I want to commend each and every one of these seniors for taking advantage of this opportunity to invest in your future. Your family and your schools have prepared you for this moment, and we cannot wait to see what greatness you will achieve.