Union Public Schools and Tulsa Community College are part of a joint venture creating EDGE - Earn a Degree, Graduate Early, a program that is among the first of its kind in the state.
This program provides eligible Union High School students the opportunity to earn 60 college credits concurrently while attending Union High School; students who complete the program will receive both an associate degree and a high school diploma upon graduation.
EDGE: Earn a Degree, Graduate Early targets first-generation college students, those who come from families who have had no experience with college or expectation that their children will attend a university.
EDGE launched with an initial cohort of 50-60 students. Union celebrated the first graduating class of EDGE in the spring of 2021.
About the Program
While Union has offered concurrent classes of eligible students to several years, EDGE presents a new cohort of students each year with a unique early college high school experience. TCC instructors teach rigorous college-level courses on-site at Union High School.
The courses offered at Union and at TCC include the general education requirements many local universities require in the initial two years of post-secondary education. Students qualifying for the program have the opportunity to earn 60 hours of college credit and an associate degree in a Liberal Arts field.
Expectations are high . . . for students and the program. Through the cooperative and shared use of resources, personnel, and facilities, TCC and Union Public Schools will provide access to higher education while reducing the barriers to college completion.
This program is setting the stage for how Early College High School is implemented in Oklahoma. The State Regents for Higher Education is committed to helping improve college graduation rates in Oklahoma, as well as helping to create more first-generation college students.
The program is also a direct response to Oklahoma’s workforce needs, as employers struggle to find enough qualified employees to fill positions in high-growth industries.
Breaking Down the Barriers to College
EDGE at Union Public Schools will target first-generation college students, those who come from low-income families who have had no experience with college or expectation that their children will attend a university.
By putting students on-track for college before they leave high school, we plan to change the life trajectory for many young people.
Ultimately, we hope to improve college graduation rates in Oklahoma, while better preparing students for a successful career in high-demand fields with potentially higher salaries.
The EDGE: Earn a Degree, Graduate Early program will begin with a college preparatory curriculum their freshman year. Beginning in 10th Grade, college courses will be gradually added to the student's schedule.
College courses will be introduced on a graduated basis:
- Sophomore year: 3 college courses
- Junior year: 8 college courses
- Senior year: 9 college courses
Camp College/summer program: EDGE students will be expected to attend a summer “bridge experience” to orient them to college-level expectations, study, research, and time management skills, and to build relationships with fellow students.
Tulsa Community College instructors will teach the college courses, which will begin in the students’ sophomore year.
Students will be able to take up to 19 combined college credit hours and high school classes per semester.
- EDGE classes will be held primarily at the High School.
- As seniors, EDGE students will take their college classes at TCC Southeast Campus.
- College classes will take place on a Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday schedule, with study classes on Fridays.
Freshman EDGE students will form a cohort and have three classes together – advanced biology, advanced English and college prep – for ongoing support.
EDGE students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average their freshman year.
EDGE students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average in grades 10-12 and be on track for high school graduation.
TCC advisors will conduct individual or group college advisement conferences, including degree audits, two times per year with all EDGE students. EDGE counselors will track credit requirements for the high school diploma.
EDGE students will have access to the TCC Writing Lab, Math Lab, Library, and other college facilities and services available to other TCC students.
During the regular academic year, transportation to TCC Southeast Campus during the school day will be provided by the district.
- Q: Is there a cost for EDGE?
- My student is enrolled in concurrent (dual enrollment) courses at Union. Can my student switch to EDGE?
- Why is there a charge for concurrent college courses when there is not one for the EDGE program?
- You say, “This program is not for everyone.” What are the other options available to my student?