A new dual enrollment Academy program at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology will let students earn both a high school diploma and an associates degree in aviation studies at Atlantic Cape Community College.
The new Academy of Aviation Studies at ACIT, which will start with a freshman class in September, will include all high school academic courses, plus aviation studies classes at Atlantic Cape, including Air Traffic Control, and Unmanned Aerial Systems, commonly known as drones
Students will start their day at ACIT, but will then be bused to Atlantic Cape for classes. The high school classes will be taught by ACIT teachers, and the aviation courses will be taught by Atlantic Cape staff.
Students will be returned at the end of the day to ACIT so they can participate in clubs and sports.
The program will be free for students. The startup costs are being funded by a four-year, $600,000 County Vocational Partnership Grant grant from the state Department of Education. An associate degree at Atlantic Cape typically costs about $8,500 for tuition and fees.
Jamie Moscony, director of curriculum and instruction/special projects at ACIT said they looked at the county economic development plan, and aviation is a target industry.
“We asked, how can we help meet that need,” she said.
The program also targets a statewide effort to reduce college costs for students and promote dual enrollment agreements between high schools and colleges.
Moscony said the program will be highly competitive and all high school classes will be at the honors level. The goal is to enroll 25 to 30 freshmen each year.
The aviation courses begin in freshman year with Principles of Aviation Studies, and Aviation and Engineering Design Lab. In their junior year students will take Air Traffic Control, including using the simulator at the college.
Atlantic Cape vice president of academic affairs Otto Hernandez said the high school students will be taught in their own classes rather than mixed in with college students. They are setting aside classroom and office space in the A building and students will also have their own lunch area.
The college’s program currently has about 50 students, and Hernandez said most students plan to transfer to a four-year college to finish their bachelor’s degree.
“We are trying to make this one of our flagship programs,” he said. “This is exciting for us and for students who have a passion for this. It’s a pretty attractive package.”
INFORMATION SESSIONS: ACIT will host two information sessions for students and parents at 6 p.m. April 14 and 28 in the high school’s performing arts center in Mays Landing.