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Tech schools to switch from quarter to semester system
DeKalb Tech among those to switch in fall 2011
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Students at DeKalb Tech may be seeing fewer interruptions in their classes starting fall of next year.

Georgia's 26 technical colleges, including DeKalb Technical College, will switch from the quarter academic calendar to semester system, beginning with the fall semester in August 2011.

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 percent of public and private colleges and universities in the U.S. follow a semester calendar.

Semester scheduling offers technical college students many benefits, said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson, such as 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," said Jackson. "The TCSG is committed to workforce development and workforce excellence, and the conversion to semesters underscores this goal."

To help smooth the transition for the 19,000 students enrolled in technical colleges in Georgia, DeKalb Tech and its 25 sister colleges will offer one-on-one advisement sessions and individualized academic plans to all affected students beginning this summer and continuing through summer 2011, said Public Relations Director Cory Thompson. Emphasis will be made on easing any student concerns about the conversion and their course credits, graduation dates and financial aid.

"Our immediate focus in academic affairs is on those students who are three quarters away from graduation. We want to make sure they can easily reach their graduation goal before the transition," said Dr. Debra Gordon, DeKalb Tech's dean of student support.

There are more than 2,500 students that are within a few quarters of graduating, pointed out Thompson. "Of the more than 8,000 students currently enrolled in credit programs, more than 75 percent will begin their academic career at DeKalb Tech under the quarter system, and end their studies here under the semester system."

Dr. Tanya Gorman, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at DeKalb Tech urged students to see their academic advisor. "We have spent hours; meticulously going through the academic calendar and curriculum to make sure everything is in place for students as they bridge the evolution between quarters and semesters," she said.

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.

A new website, was launched to help answer students' questions about the switch. The website features a series of entertaining video messages about the quarters to semester conversion, plus a Frequently Asked Questions page, the new academic calendar and host of other information for current and prospective TCSG students.

DeKalb Tech has eight centers of learning in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale, and Morgan counties. Established in 1961, DeKalb Technical College currently has more than 4,000 students enrolled in diploma or degree programs and more than 9,000 in adult education classes in more than 100 different occupations. For more information visit