Meet the new type of student roaming Bellarmine Universityâ€™s campus this fall. Not your typical 18 and older pupil, this student comes straight from the stomping grounds of Eminence High School, who partnered with Bellarmine for a new program allowing high schoolers to take classes at the university.
Qualifying juniors and seniors at Eminence will get an early glimpse of college life, and may earn up to 29 hours of college credit by the time they complete high school. On Aug. 7, 35 eager Eminence high school students arrived at Bellarmine for a tour of the institution, off Newburg Road, as an introduction to a year of twice-weekly on-campus studies.
Traveling from Henry County, the students will ride a WiFi-equipped bus to and from campus and received free Apple laptops from the Eminence school system. Bellarmine is providing reduced tuition to the high school enrollees.
This coming fall, the high school students will take courses in English and geography. In its inaugural semester, Bellarmine faculty and staff felt it was best to group Eminence students together in a classroom setting separate from college students, said Dr. Graham Ellis, assistant vice president for academic affairs. As the program progresses, integration is likely.
â€œItâ€™s more important for the Eminence students, and students like them, to get a look at the university, and weâ€™re a good institution and good place for this to happen,â€ said Ellis. â€œUltimately itâ€™s good for the students … so that they can make that transition to college a little earlier, perhaps, and get a good start on their college careers.â€
Eminenceâ€™s school district has ranked among Kentuckyâ€™s top 10 districts for high ACT scores. This past year, 64 percent of Eminence students qualified for free and reduced lunch, and 90 percent were from families without previous generations of college graduates. Through Bellarmineâ€™s Pioneer Scholars Program, the university can help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. About 40 percent of Bellarmine students are first-generation college students.
Bellarmineâ€™s regular semester will begin Aug. 23; the Eminence students have begun early to become acquainted with the program.
For more information on the Eminence/Bellarmine partnership, visit www.bellarmine.edu/news.