When Hunter Thompson received a rejection letter in the mail from Georgia Regents University, his hopes were only dashed for a minute.
Attached to the letter was information about a new partnership with East Georgia State College, which allows students to take classes through ECSC on the GRU campus and transition to GRU as a sophomore under certain requirements.
“From what I’ve seen, it looks like something I needed,” said Thompson, a 2013 Greenbrier High School graduate.
East Georgia State College Augusta will launch on the GRU campus next week as a transition program for students who did not meet requirements for GRU but who hope to attend the university in the future. Students will take 30 credit hours as EGSC students, paying that school’s tuition and fees, and can transfer to GRU as sophomores if they complete those courses with at least a 2.0 GPA.
Director Jeff Edgens said the program was created to continue providing access to students of all academic levels even as entry requirements for GRU continue to rise due to the consolidation.
“Most of our students are first time college attendees maybe in their families or are not sure about the college process, so this is a bridge program to get into GRU,” Edgens said.
The program will launch Monday with about 65 students and 11 faculty members. EGSC classes will mostly be housed in Galloway and University halls, and all students will receive GRU identification badges and have access to all facilities.
“You wouldn’t know an East Georgia student from a GRU student,” Edgens said.
EGSC launched a similar partnership with Georgia Southern University in Statesboro in 1997 and has since seen about 9,300 students in the program.
Edgens said as interest grows in the Augusta program, more EGSC faculty can be added to accommodate more students. He hopes to see the initiative expand into an associates degree program in the future. Carol Rychly, GRU vice president for academic and faculty affairs, said the EGSC program takes the place of the University College program at the former Augusta State University, which provided access to students who did not meet entry requirements to ASU.
GRU accepts students based on a freshman index, which is a combination of SAT scores and high school GPA.
Research universities typically have a minimum index score of 2500 compared to the 1940 formerly accepted at ASU.
GRU is gradually increasing its minimum index score over time, with this fall’s reaching 2040, Rychly said.
Rychly said the EGSC program is designed to keep doors open for students of all levels but also to provide them with a good foundation so they can be successful when they transfer to GRU.
“They’ll already be familiar with the campus, they’ve been studying in the library, they’ve been taking classes in the building, so they should feel very much at home here,” Rychly said.
Hephzibah High School graduate Christopher Benton said he realized the EGSC program would be a good fit to help him achieve his goal of becoming a software developer.
Benton’s SAT scores did not meet GRU’s requirements, but that did not delay his dreams of going to college.
“I like software development, and one of my hobbies is to create different animations,” Benton said. “So I know I want to complete college to do that (in the future).”