Kutztown University and Kutztown Area School District signed an agreement that provides Kutztown High School students the opportunity to enroll in KU courses.

KU President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson signed a five-year admission agreement with Kutztown Area School District Superintendent Dr. George Fiore on Dec. 4.

“We’re very excited about this program. This is exactly the type of program that a university should have in working with their local high school,” said Hawkinson. “As you know, it’s going to provide a very affordable, high quality education for the students of this community.”

Shaking Fiore’s hand, Hawkinson said, “Thank you so much for working with us and putting all of this together.”

In the last eight years, nearly 800 Kutztown High School alumni have attended KU and currently 71 Kutztown High School graduates attend KU. Over the years going back for some time, Hawkinson said 15 to 20 percent of the high school’s graduating class studies at KU.

“That is an extraordinary number. I’m not sure that you have any high school anywhere else that sends upwards to 20 percent of their graduating class to their local university,” said Hawkinson. “That really speaks of the confidence that your students have in our university and know that confidence is a reflection of the wonderful things that all of you must say about our institution.”

“We’re excited at Kutztown Area School District for this opportunity,” said Fiore. “As a proud Kutztown University graduate, I am honored to have our kids have some of the great experiences we have here in our community.”

Fiore said there are several reasons why it is important to KASD and the school district’s students.

“We're looking for our students to be college- and career-ready, and what better way than to have children start that process as early as high school,” said Fiore. “We’re also going to do it in an affordable way so kids have access to curriculum in their junior and senior year. This is how we’re going to prepare our future generation of workers.”

Fiore thanked everyone involved for making this agreement happen.

According to KU, the agreement will allow select Kutztown Area School District students to enroll in an off-campus course as non-degree students at the university. The district will provide the documentation necessary for enrollment without cost, including a high school transcript and a letter from a guidance counselor attesting to the suitability of each course, while each selected student will be responsible for applying for non-degree status. The agreement will also allow select students to enroll in on-campus courses during both the academic year and the summer as non-degree students on a space-available basis.

KU will provide the district's students with a reduced tuition rate for both off¬ and on-campus enrollment, and students will be responsible for the balance of tuition and fees. Fees for on-campus courses are defined on the KU website at https://www.kutztown.edu/costs-and-financial-aid/tuition-and-fees-(undergraduate).htm.

In addition, Kutztown Area School District students registered as non-degree students at the university under the agreement will have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as other non-degree students including the right to a student I.D., use of the library and other academic resources. All university policies and procedures including, but not limited to, academic policies and student discipline policies shall apply.

After Fiore and Hawkinson signed the agreement, Hawkinson presented Kutztown University hats to Fiore and Kutztown School Board President Carl Ziegler.

“We appreciate the state system affiliating with us in a formalized agreement and we’ll do everything we can to promote our students to take advantage of the opportunities,” said Ziegler. “It will allow some students who would have a difficult time matriculating in a four-year college from the very start to gradually phase into that and open up doors to transfers, getting where they belong and where they want to be.”

“We’re so grateful for the high school leaders for making this happen and for being so supportive,” said Hawkinson.

Hawkinson noted that the credits high school students earn at KU can be transferred to any university throughout the region.

“We’re just so excited about this program because it not only ties the educational institutions of our community together much more closely, but it also provides a much more affordable path for students to get that jump start on their college education,” said Hawkinson.

“We’re so excited to partner with KU because this is our community, our town, our kids and we’re making better tomorrows today,” said Fiore.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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