P.O. BOX 2120



March 4, 2005



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Early College Scholars Program


During the 2003-2004 school year, more than 6,700 high school seniors in Virginia were recognized as Early College Scholars. Currently, about one in five Virginia high school seniors takes a dual-enrollment or college-level class, and about three-quarters of high schools offer some Advanced Placement (AP) courses. However, there are still high schools in which students are not fully taking advantage of the Early College Scholars Program. This 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.


As we begin the final semester of the 2004-2005 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. At this time, I would also like to request information on your divisions current participation in the program in order to provide your school division with the appropriate number of Early College Scholars certificates for graduating seniors and to gauge the level of participation with younger high school students.


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. For the graduating class of 2005, students should:

have a B average or better;

be pursuing an Advanced Studies Diploma; and

be completing or have completed college-level course work (i.e., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge, or dual enrollment) that will earn at least 15 transferable college credits.


The Governors Early College Scholars Program agreement will be signed by participating students, their parents/guardians, and the high school principal and school counselor. A copy of the agreement is attached that sets forth the expectations and responsibilities of all parties in meeting the terms of the agreement.


I encourage you to identify students in the graduating class of 2005 who are expected to meet the agreement criteria for the Early College Scholars Program. I also encourage you to identify other eligible high school students for the program. Please note that it will be the responsibility of the principal to determine if at least 15 hours of college credits have been earned.


The Department of Education will provide each school division certificates of recognition for the Early College Scholars recipients. In order for the Department of Education to order and send the correct number of certificates of recognition, please complete the Early College Scholars Program electronic survey by March 28, 2005, at using your school divisions Single Sign-On for Web Application Systems (SSWS) login and password. A copy of the worksheet for the electronic survey is attached. If you (or the person completing the survey) do not have access to the Early College Scholars survey application through SSWS, please contact your local SSWS administrator for assistance.


If you need additional information about the Early College Scholars Program, please contact James C. Firebaugh, Jr. (, director, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, at (804) 225-2651.