Recognizing the need for more students to enroll in vocational programs today, Rend Lake College has created a new tuition waiver aimed at Tech Prep students.
This two-year award carries a value of between $3,648 and $4,104 and includes fall, spring and summer semesters. One Tech Prep tuition waiver will be issued in each of 14 fields of study: Agriculture Business Management, Automotive Service Technician, Biomedical Electronics Technician, Business Management, Child Care Director/Administrator, Computer Networking Specialist, Culinary Arts Management, Engineering Technician, Graphic Design, Health Information Technology, Horticulture, Industrial Technician, Manufacturing Technology and Nursing.
"It’s a big savings for families and for students," said Betty Musgrave, Tech Prep Director of the Franklin/Williamson Counties Regional Office of Education. "They just have to pay for books and lab fees."
To be eligible for these awards, students must attend one of the 13 high schools in the Rend Lake College district, have and maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average or better and maintain full-time status for fall and spring semesters. Students can apply for a waiver in one Tech Prep course of study.
Student applications and related materials can be obtained in high school counselors’ offices. Completed applications, transcripts and student Tech Prep record transition forms are due in the Rend Lake College Foundation Office by April 23, 2004.
Award recipients will be notified during their respective high school’s honors program or by mail.
According to Musgrave, 179 high school students came to Rend Lake College in November 2003 for Tech Prep College Career Day and declared themselves as Tech Prep students. There likely were more Tech Prep students than the number showed because some district high schools were unable to attend, Musgrave said.
However, subsequent college enrollment figures indicated that many of these students were not identifying themselves as Tech Prep students when they enrolled at RLC. To change this trend, the idea of the Tech Prep tuition waiver was generated.
Musgrave said she approached RLC President Mark Kern with the idea of presenting scholarships in various Tech Prep programs. Subsequently, a group including Kern, RLCF Chief Executive Officer Pat Mitchell and several Rend Lake College department chairs gathered to work out the specifics of this new tuition waiver.
"We’re hoping it will put a spark in Tech Prep," said Musgrave. "It’s a motivational tool. We are looking forward to seeing how many students apply for the waivers."
According to Musgrave, Tech Prep represents an educational course of study that integrates college preparatory coursework with a rigorous technical education concentration. It is a planned sequence of courses, both academic and technical, beginning at ninth grade and articulated with post-secondary experiences leading to an associate degree. It also provides preparation for advanced education, such as a four-year baccalaureate degree.
Musgrave said the content of these courses is determined by employers. She said a panel of employers, working with the Tech Prep program at the Franklin/Williamson ROE, identifies the skills their employees need. Officials then meet with counselors and teachers to develop course content and place the courses in sequential order.
"We’re excited. I think it is the right way to go," Musgrave said.
For more information about the Tech Prep tuition waiver, contact the Rend Lake College Foundation at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1213 or 1324, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321.