P.O. BOX 2120



August 31, 2007



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Early College Scholars Program


During the 2006-2007 school year, school divisions reported that more than 8,157 seniors in Virginia completed the requirements to earn the Early College Scholars distinction. 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 with a Governors Seal; 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 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 faculty in your schools to identify students 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.


In the past, each school division reported 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 used those data to determine the number of Early College Scholars certificates each division needed and then mailed the appropriate number of certificates to the school division.


Beginning this school year, the process will be automated to allow school divisions to print Early College Scholars certificates on site. To automate the process, each school division will need to continue to report the number of students who have signed Early College Scholars agreements in the EIMS during the fall and spring of the school year. The data entered during the spring collection will be used to create data files for school divisions. Each divisions data file will be available in late April or early May through the Single Sign-On for Web Systems (SSWS) secure data collection tool. The data file will include an Early College Scholars certificate for each student reported in the spring student records collection. School divisions will then be able to print the certificates within the division. Certificates may be printed in color or black and white. Detailed instructions for printing certificates will be included in a Superintendents Memorandum to be released in March 2008.


Due to this change in the distribution of the Early College Scholars certificates, it is imperative that the data entered into the EIMS student records collection be as accurate as possible. Students not identified in the spring records collection will not be included in the data file for printing certificates. Therefore, a change in the EIMS student records collection will have to be made before a certificate can be issued to the student. The Department will no longer print certificates and will be unable to issue blank certificates for school divisions to fill in for students not identified in the spring student records collection.


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