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Technical College System of Georgia Will Convert from Quarters to Semesters Starting Fall 2011

Year-Long Student Advisement Period to Begin at Okefenokee Technical College.
New Website TCSGSemester411.com Helps with Info and Answers   

ATLANTA -- Georgia’s 26 technical colleges, including Okefenokee Technical College, will convert from the quarter to semester system, beginning with the fall semester in August 2011, a change that furthers seamless education in Georgia and improves the state’s workforce development.

The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) has made a strong commitment to its 190,000 students to assist them through the conversion with minimal disruption to their studies. Beginning in the summer of 2010 and continuing through summer 2011, Okefenokee Technical College and its 25 sister colleges will offer one-on-one advisement sessions and individualized academic plans to all affected students.  Emphasis will be made on easing any student concerns about the conversion and their course credits, graduation dates and financial aid.

The start of the student advisement also signaled the launch of a comprehensive new website, TCSGSemester411.com which features a series of entertaining video messages about the quarters to semesters conversion, plus a Frequently Asked Questions page, the new academic calendar and host of other information for current and prospective TCSG students.

Moving from quarters to semesters will align the technical college academic calendar with those of the state’s K-12 school systems, the University System of Georgia and most of the state’s private colleges and universities. Eighty (80) percent of public and private colleges and universities in the U.S. follow a semester calendar.

“The change to a semester academic calendar is in the very best interests of our students,” says TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. “We’re a world-class educational system for workforce development, and a major part of our mission is to provide seamless education where calendars and curriculum align and lifelong learning is easily attainable for students of all ages and circumstances.”

Semester scheduling offers technical college students many benefits, Jackson says, including additional instructional time, more in-depth coverage of course content and ease of transfer to other institutions, as well as calendar alignment that better supports dual and joint enrollment opportunities for high school students.

“With a semester system, both students and their future employers benefit from more in-depth coverage of course content and extended learning opportunities,” says Jackson. “The TCSG is committed to workforce development and workforce excellence, and the conversion to semesters underscores this goal.”

Dean Alford, chair of the state board that oversees the TCSG, adds, “Moving to semesters is a strategic initiative that will ensure greater educational and career opportunities for all of our students and better prepare them for their important roles in Georgia’s 21st Century workforce.”

The conversion will not affect students’ state or federal financial aid, including Georgia’s HOPE grant and scholarship programs. Annual tuition under the new semester system will be roughly equivalent to the annual cost under the quarter system; however, tuition will be paid three times a year instead of four times a year. Class sizes are not expected to increase on the semester system, nor will a student’s grade point average be affected.

TCSG staff and Okefenokee Technical College administrators have been at work throughout the last year planning and addressing all necessary curriculum, scheduling, financial aid, information technology and operational aspects of the conversion.  A comprehensive curriculum review and adaptation has also been underway at the state level for over a year to ensure the most relevant program content.
For more information, visit www.okefenokeetech.edu or http://www.TCSGSemester411.com/



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