Paine recruits high school students offering free college credits despite uncertain future

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BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Administrators at Augusta’s only Historically Black College moved forward with efforts to attract more students despite the uncertainty of whether the institution will be accredited in the fall.

With financial stability issues ongoing at Paine, getting more students should be the number one priority.  The plan, however, is business as usual with local, regional and national recruitment.  And locally, students are winning.

“We learned about theorists and why people do things and what causes them to do things (mental illnesses),” said Burke County High School junior Devon Hill.

Hill already has college credits for Sociology and Psychology. Makayla Lee has the same deal.

“With me being a Sophomore I really got a head start,” she said.

Lee and Hill make up about 30 Burke County High School students who are part of Paine College’s efforts to introduce higher learning to high school students.  The program is free through the state of Georgia.  Students complete two applications, a Georgia 411 applications they can obtain through their school counselor and a Paine College Application.

Paine kicked off the summer program for the first time in Burke County and it will be followed by the long-standing Move On When Ready programs in Richmond County in the fall and spring.  Students can still sign up for a July 5 start date.

Hill jumped on the opportunity when it came to his town.

“I wanted to get a leg up on my other classmates so I decided to take the initiative to go ahead and take a college course,” Hill said.

Despite the dark cloud of accreditation over the century old Historically Black College, Paine administrators pressed on with its Move On When Ready program assuring students a financial problem won’t stop teaching.

“It’s about giving them the Paine experience so that it can hopefully transfer into a Move On When Ready student to a Paine College Lion,” Director of Admissions Charles Singley said.

Singley agreed he has a tough job recruiting for Paine as the school appeals the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges recommendation for it to lose accreditation.  He said touting matriculation there must include some positive news.

“What I’m telling them is this is a process like any other process. There were several schools that were on the list of probation going through their troubles.  This isn’t a Paine College issue this is a national issue with colleges period.  And we just happen to be a college that is going through some things at this time,” he said.

Singley is also pushing parents and students to research Paine’s history in order to see  that it is in fact a good school.  He said he is confident and has no fears.  That’s what he’s telling anyone interested in coming to Paine.

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