Durham Tech helps dropouts get back into school

Posted April 28, 2010 10:08 a.m. EDT

— Durham Technical Community College is recruiting students for its first class in a program to help high school dropouts get back into school.

The Gateway to College program allows dropouts from Durham Public Schools between the ages of 16 and 21 to complete their high school diploma requirements and earn college credits at the same time. Students will get scholarships to cover their tuition, books and fees.

"We are offering students who have disengaged from their high school learning experiences a second chance – one that will help them take a big leap ahead in a college environment," Christine Kelly-Kleese, dean for student engagement and transitions at Durham Tech, said in a statement.

The program is funded by a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is used at 27 colleges in 16 states.

Durham Tech hopes to enroll 50 students by this fall and 300 during the next three years.

Applicants will be selected through outreach and a two-day application and interview process.

“The partnership of Durham Public Schools with Durham Technical Community College is an excellent example of the commitment of the community to our youth to ensure students not only complete high school but are ready for college or the workplace," Debbie Pitman, an assistant superintendent with Durham Public Schools, said in a statement.