P.O. BOX 2120



October 20, 2006



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Early College Scholars Program


During the 2005-2006 school year, school divisions reported more than 28,000 students in Virginia participated in the Early College Scholars Program. As we begin another school year, I would like to remind superintendents of the Early College Scholars Program and the important educational opportunity it presents to students in the Commonwealth.


The Early College Scholars Program is intended to encourage eligible high school students to complete requirements for a high school diploma and concurrently earn at least 15 hours of transferable credits toward a college degree. This program can potentially result in a more productive senior year and reduce the amount of college tuition for families. Students earning a college degree in seven semesters instead of eight can save an average of $5,000 in college expenses. Early College Scholars participants should:


  • have a B average or better;
  • be pursuing an Advanced Studies Diploma; and
  • be completing or have completed college-level coursework (i.e., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge, or dual enrollment) that will earn at least 15 transferable college credits.


The Early College Scholars Program agreement will be signed by participating students, their parent/guardian, and the high school principal and school counselor. It may be signed at any time, from ninth to twelfth grade. A copy of the agreement is attached and sets forth the expectations and responsibilities of all parties in meeting the terms of the agreement.


I encourage you to identify students in your school who meet the eligibility criteria for the Early College Scholars Program. Please note that it will be the responsibility of the principal to determine when at least 15 hours of college credit have been earned such that a participating student earns the distinction of Early College Scholar.


Each school division will report the number of students who have signed Early College Scholars agreements in the Educational Information Management System (EIMS) record collections during the fall and spring of the school year. The Department will use these data to determine the number of Early College Scholars certificates that it will distribute to school divisions in late April or early May 2007.


If you have any questions about the program, please contact Tabitha Foreman, high school initiatives specialist, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at, or by telephone at (804) 786-1993.