By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer
On Monday, Feb. 10, Steve Rosales showed a presentation about The Early College at LCC, a free program he directs, to the Mason Board of Education.
All Ingham County sophomores are invited to apply to The Early College, informally known as TEC. Students in TEC leave their high schools and receive a blended high school and college education for three years. Rosales, who works for Lansing Community College, compared the program to taking an 11th, 12th and 13th grade program. The Ingham Intermediate School District officials choose applicants by lottery.
Rosales said the biggest selling point of The Early College is its free tuition and books. The Ingham Intermediate School District and Lansing Community College fund the program.
“Going to college for free is the best thing we could ever dream of,” Lindsay Coker, who lives in Mason and started TEC in August 2013, said. “I hope to get my associate’s degree before my older brothers, so I can rub it in their faces.”
Rosales said The Early College is geared toward students who want a challenge and have goals.
Former Mason High School student Akiliah Walker said besides the head start and free college credits, she likes the people at TEC and being on a college campus.
Starting out, students will take college preparatory classes. The four instructors reside in the Mackinaw Building on LCC’s campus and teach core courses, such as English, mathematics and social studies. After their first or second semester in the program, students migrate to LCC classes.
Along with receiving their high school diplomas, participating students complete around 60 college credits—only a few credits shy of an associate degree. This saves students and parents $25,000 to $50,000. Many students plan to transfer their LCC credits to other colleges.
Asmaa Ali, who started the program in August 2013, previously went to East Lansing High School. After she finishes the program, she’s hoping to continue college at Michigan State University.
Another TEC student, Dianna Hudson, disliked her previous school, Eaton Rapids High School.
“I knew in Eaton Rapids I wasn’t getting a good education, and their system was old-fashioned. I have a better chance of getting into college here,” Hudson said.
Both Ali and Hudson liked that faculty spent time teaching them success skills, like time management and note taking, to help prepare them for college.
Each school district allotted a certain amount of seats per year for TEC students, and Mason has six. Since the program has been active for three years, there are 18 students from Mason.
Rosales aspires to have too many applicants. He would like to expand to other districts and recruit more faculty and students.
“Future hopes: that everybody wants to come. That I’d be fending them off with a stick,” Rosales said. “That’d be a fun problem to solve.”
Mason sophomores can look in their mailboxes next week for an application.