Baker College, Lake Orion Schools Set ‘Early College’ Program

AUBURN HILLS — Baker College’s Auburn Hills campus and the Lake Orion Community Schools announced a partnership to give high school students the opportunity to graduate from high school with up to 60 transferable college credits, a college associate degree or a technical certificate at no cost to the students or their families.

The Lake Orion Early/Middle College program will pay for all tuition, books and fees.

Current sophomore students at Lake Orion High School are eligible for the program, which begins this fall. They can earn high school and college credit at the same time ­– at the high school, online or at Baker College of Auburn Hills – and continue to earn college credit during a fifth year of high school with courses held at Baker College of Auburn Hills.

A student-parent informational meeting is set for Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m., at the Lake Orion High School Auditorium.

“Having the option to secure a higher education at no cost to students or their parents is an incredible opportunity,” said Peter W. Karsten,  Baker College of Auburn Hills president. “It provides a running start to students on their college education without incurring debt or dipping into their financial resources.”

Courses offered initially support the associate degree programs of business administration and computer programming. The first half of both programs include general education courses that are requirements for many associate and bachelor’s degrees.

“We have a large number of students in business and computer science courses, so we chose to begin with higher education programs in those areas,” said Lake Orion High School Assistant Principal Chris Bell. “Additional programs considered in the near future will depend upon student interest, employment trends and reported shortages of workforce talent.”

He noted research that shows the earlier that students participate in early college programs, the more likely they are to graduate from high school and earn a college degree.

“It’s about gaining the confidence that they can succeed,” he said. “But achieving some form of higher education is crucial to even enter today’s job market. By providing free access to the quality education and career services offered by Baker College, we’re setting up our students to be more competitive in the job market right out of high school or to fast-track a bachelor’s degree.”

Lake Orion High School students who participate in the early/middle college remain eligible to participate in high school sports and other extracurricular activities through 12th grade. Those who elect to take fifth-year coursework may walk with their class at graduation but will receive their high school diploma upon completion of the program.

The program is approved by the Michigan Department of Education.

For information about Baker College programs, contact Nicole Chirco in the admissions office at nicole.chirco@baker.edu or (248) 340-0600, or visit http://www.baker.edu. Baker College serves more than 23,000 students online and at campuses in Allen Park, Auburn Hills, Cadillac, Cass City, Clinton Township, Coldwater, Flint, Fremont, Jackson, Muskegon, Owosso, Port Huron, Mich., and Reading, Pa.

Lake Orion Community Schools serves 7,600 students in seven elementary schools, three middle schools and Lake Orion High School. More at http://www.lakeorion.k12.mi.us.

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