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Metro Community College Honored for Success with Program Started by Bill and Melinda Gates

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Metropolitan Community College was recently one of only five colleges nationwide to win a Gateway Graduation Achievement award for the high school graduation rates in their Gateway to College program  – roughly 65%.

Will Smith, a resource specialist with MCC’s Gateway program, says this national dual-enrollment program was started by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, with the goal of increasing  high school graduation rates.  Metro is one of 37 colleges in the country to offer the program, and the only one in Nebraska.  

Smith says students are attracted to the Gateway program for a variety of reasons.  Some prefer the smaller classes and 1:1 attention they get at MCC; some feel too mature for high school; some feel bullied at their high schools.  And some want to get an earlier start on their associate degree – while earning high school credits.

“They may still need three English classes, for example. Well, a lot of times, we’ll end up putting those students in their English Composition 1 or English Composition 2.  Those are general education classes that any college student will have to take, where, here, that takes care of their college general education requirement and then it also takes care of their high school graduation requirement, so that way they can meet their high school requirements while also starting their college transcript as well. ...But we also have to work with them on how to be good college students. So, the Graduation Achievement Award really reflects all the wrap-around services that we give to these students.”

Smith says the students' home districts have to approve their enrollment in the Gateway program, and some districts even pay the $875.00 per quarter cost.  When the students complete all high school credits, their high schools issue their diplomas, and they become eligible for one free year of tuition at Metro Community College.   

Smith says they are still recruiting for the fall quarter, which begins the first week of September. 

For more information, the number is 531-622-2746