Deal Finder: Free Educational Opportunities in Coweta County
By LaTina Emerson, Shopper Deals
Education paves the way for a better future, and sometimes people need assistance making their academic dreams come true.
In Coweta County, residents have access to several free educational programs, including dual enrollment that allows high school students to take college and technical college classes, GED preparation courses and English Language Acquisition (ELA) classes.
Learn more about these exciting opportunities:
High school students in grades 9 to 12 can apply for dual enrollment in West Georgia Technical College and take classes that will satisfy requirements for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or technical college program.
To enroll, students must take a free Accuplacer placement test or the ACT or SAT exams and submit an application to West Georgia Technical College. They must also meet with their high school counselor and complete required forms. Then, they can register for classes. To sign up for summer or fall semester classes, the priority deadline is April 2.
“The technical programs we have set up in Coweta at CEC (Central Educational Center) are cosmetology, culinary, dental assisting, nurse aid, automotive, welding, game design, criminal justice and early childhood education,” said Leigh Cunningham, the high school coordinator for West Georgia Technical College. “Those are one or two semester programs, and they earn a technical certificate in that area that they can go to work with. Or, they can build on it and earn their diploma or associate’s degree in that area. We had a student a year or two ago who graduated from welding, and he’s making $80,000 straight out of the program. There’s a lot of money to be made in those technical programs for students who are going straight into the work force.
“We also offer core classes. Those are the degree-level courses they would need for any associate’s or bachelor’s degree. We have those available at CEC during the day, evening or online, and then we also offer some of those at the high schools. We have two classes at East Coweta and Newnan high schools, math and English. We’re looking to add more of them at each location for the fall and possibly add some at Northgate. We have a lot of options for the core classes, and it provides a lot of flexibility for scheduling. We can make it work for any student’s schedule, whether they play sports or work.”
The core classes usually count toward high school graduation requirements. Students should consult with their counselor to make sure they’re on the right track.
“The credits will transfer to any University System of Georgia school, but if the student goes to a private school or out of state, they’ll need to check with that school to make sure they’ll accept their credits. But in general, a lot of them do because of that agreement with the University System of Georgia. I had a student who graduated last school year and between her core credits and AP (Advanced Placement) credits, she had 56 credit hours when she started at UGA this school year. So she only has two more years to finish her four-year degree. That’s a big success story for how it can really work for you.”
All tuition fees and books for the core and technical college classes are covered by the state of Georgia. Students might need to pay a $20 lab fee for science classes or purchase a uniform for some of the technical college classes, such as nurse aid or dental assisting.
“You can save a lot of money taking these classes while you’re in high school,” Cunningham said. “It’s a great opportunity for the students. Our learning environment, especially with the technical programs, is very hands-on and gets them ready for the workforce. The core classes are a good way to get a head start on those associate’s or bachelor’s degrees for students who are going into a four-year university.”
For more information or to apply for dual enrollment, email [email protected] or visit https://www.westgatech.edu/admissions/dual-enrollment/.
West Georgia Technical College’s Adult Education program offers free classes to help students prepare for the GED test. The classes, available to anyone 16 years old and older, are offered at varying times at several locations: WGTC Coweta Campus (morning, afternoon and evening), Central Education Center (mornings), Goodwill Thomas Crossroads (mornings) and Ruth Hill Elementary (evenings).
Individuals who are under 18 must have a parent or guardian present during registration and should bring a withdrawal form from their last high school in order to participate.
All students must attend a registration session and complete a skills assessment before starting classes. The skills assessment gives instructors an idea of what skills students need to work on. Then, students are placed in class and can work toward attaining their GED. The time it takes to earn a GED varies and depends on students’ skill levels, how long they’ve been out of school, whether they use any academic skills (math, reading or writing) daily, whether they have any learning disabilities and how much time they’re willing to invest in and out of the classroom.
The county’s GED testing center is at the WGTC Coweta Campus. The cost for the GED test is $160 ($40 per subtest, four subtests). Students must pass all four subtests to earn a GED: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Students who qualify are eligible to receive GED testing scholarships. Last year, WGTC Adult Education students were awarded more than $20,000 in GED testing scholarships.
The WGTC Adult Education program led the state last year for students completing GED classes. Over 450 students enrolled in classes in Coweta County and almost 100 earned the GED credential.
For more information on GED class registration or testing, visit www.westgatech.edu/adulted or call 1-855-500-GEDS (4337).
English Language Acquisition (ELA) classes
West Georgia Technical College’s Adult Education program also offers free English Language Acquisition (ELA) classes for beginners or those working toward earning their GED. The classes are available at Central Education Center during the evenings. Students must bring government issued ID to the registration session.
For more information, visit www.westgatech.edu/adulted or call 1-855-500-GEDS (4337).