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BCS parents have new opportunity to attend community college for free

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Through a new partnership with the Alabama Community College, parents and legal guardians of Birmingham City Schools' students currently in the 8th and 9th grades, are eligible to apply to receive free tuition to any community college in Alabama. (Adobe stock photo)

Special to The Times

Through a new partnership with the Alabama Community College, parents and legal guardians of Birmingham City Schools' students currently in the 8th and 9th grades, are eligible to apply to receive free tuition to any community college in Alabama. (Adobe stock photo)
Through a new partnership with the Alabama Community College, parents and legal guardians of Birmingham City Schools’ students currently in the 8th and 9th grades, are eligible to apply to receive free tuition to any community college in Alabama. (Adobe stock photo)

Birmingham City Schools’ parents could get a free community college education.

An informational meeting on a Gear Up Birmingham tuition-waiver program will be held Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Central office. The tuition-waiver program, which does not cover tuition at four-year colleges, is available through 2022.

Parents and legal guardians of students in the 8th and 9th grades set to graduate high school in 2020 and 2021, can apply to get free tuition to any community college in Alabama.

The offer is for tuition only; books, room and board and lab fees are not covered. Students must be in the district’s Gear UP program.

Parents enrolled in the program this semester, attending Lawson State Community College and Jefferson State Community College. Several parents have plans to go on to a four-year college, said Dr. Donna Turner, Gear UP Birmingham project director.

“We have one parent who’s always wanted to go back to school but could not afford to do so,” Dr. Turner said. “This waiver is allowing her to go school without worrying about how to pay for it.”

The program is helping the parent accomplish her goal of becoming a teacher, Turner said.

“Once she finishes the program at Jeff State, she will go to UAB to pursue her four-year degree in education.”

Another parent regretted dropping out of college several years ago. But now because of the waiver program, he is in community college and is determined to finish, she said.

“He talks about the importance of his children seeing him in college,” Turner said. “His wife plans to enroll next semester.”

The program will help increase parents’ earning potential, which will have an even greater impact on Birmingham’s economic development,” Turner said.

“By going to college, they can also encourage their children and give them a different perspective on securing a college education,” Turner said.

Gear UP Birmingham partnered with the Alabama Community College System for the program.

For more information, contact Mildred Funderburg at 231-4738 or mfunderburg@bhm.k12.al.us.