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Allentown students will be able to earn associate’s degree

The Upper Freehold Regional School District Board of Education has approved an academy at Allentown High School that will allow students to take college level courses and earn an associate’s degree.

On Dec. 13, board members approved a memorandum of agreement between the school district and Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, for the inception of the Early College Academy at Allentown High School.

The academy will give students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree while also earning their high school diploma by allowing them to simultaneously satisfy high school graduation and associate degree requirements, according to district administrators.

In order to apply to the Early College Academy, eighth grade students must have scored 4 or higher on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or an equivalent test in seventh grade, have final grades of “C” or better in seventh and eighth grade, not have any chronic issue with unexcused absences and be eligible to take Algebra I or Geometry in ninth grade, according to district administrators.

Potential Early College Academy students will submit an application, a copy of their transcript, report cards and standardized test scores, and a formal written statement describing why they want to enroll in the program.

The students’ middle school will be asked to submit attendance and discipline records and a letter of recommendation is required from a teacher, counselor or school administrator. Additionally, a student/parent interview must be completed prior to being accepted to the academy.

Tuition will be $45 per credit if the course is taught by Allentown High School staff, $67 per credit if the course is taught by Brookdale Community College staff and $135 per credit if the course is taken at a Brookdale Community College campus, according to district administrators.

Brookdale’s main campus is in Middletown and the college also has locations in Freehold Township, Hazlet, Wall Township, Long Branch and Neptune Township.

Students who enroll in the academy will be expected to take nine credits in ninth grade for $405, nine credits in 10th grade for $405, 22 credits (nine at the high school) in 11th grade for $2,160 and 24 credits in 12th grade for $3,240, according to district administrators. The total estimated cost of successfully completing an associate’s degree, not including book fees, is $6,210.

The Brookdale Board of Trustees is expected to approve the plan for the academy in early 2018, according to district administrators, and Allentown High School teachers with necessary qualifications will apply to Brookdale for status as adjunct professors to teach the courses.

Current eighth-graders who will be attending Allentown High School and/or their parents may submit an application by February/March and admitted names will be sent to Brookdale by April.

“This represents a dream we have had for several months,” Superintendent of Schools Richard Fitzpatrick said.

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