ATA begins early, middle college program

DEARBORN — The Advanced Technology Academy has received state approval to open the ATA Early/Middle College program this fall. The tuition-free college program enables southeast Michigan
students to enroll in as many free postsecondary college courses as they would like during their fifth year of high school.

ATA is accepting applications for enrollment at its Dearborn campus. The high school concurrent enrollment program offers 30 or more free college credits in grades 9 through 12.

The new Early/Middle College program adds an additional 13th year and provides students with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and either an associate’s degree, technical certification or up to 60 transferable free college credits at the same time.

There are two parts to the program. The first part is the Concurrent College Enrollment High School. Under this new initiative, eligible students may take 10 postsecondary classes during grade 9 through 12. Students can enroll in two concurrent college enrollment college classes in the first, second and third academic year.

They also may enroll in up to four concurrent college enrollment
classes in the student’s fourth academic year in a traditional sequence.

The second phase Is the Early/Middle College program. This program includes a fifth year sponsored by participating universities: Davenport University, Lake Superior State University and Eastern Michigan University.

To be eligible for the fifth year of free college credit a student must agree to defer his or her high school diploma until completion of the fifth year. This fifth year allows students to pursue an associate’s degree, technical certification or additional transferable college credits that are allowed by the State of Michigan Post Secondary Enrollment Options Act.

Students may obtain online enrollment forms at They also can call the Dearborn campus at 313-625-4701 to obtain more information.

“ATA is Michigan’s first career academy using the Ford Next Generation Learning framework,” ATA Executive Director Barry Hawthorne said. “ATA’s career based curriculum is centered on business, engineering, and health care management.

ATA’s career academy prepares students for careers in newly emerging occupations.

“The Early/Middle College program is designed to save parents thousands of dollars in college tuition and expenses. More importantly, the program gives many families a jump start in life by providing a free alternative means to obtain a college education without costly college loans.

“This program will help the economic development of Detroit area by providing employers with an advanced technology workforce. It helps students to ‘cross the finish line’ by giving them the opportunity to begin their career early.”

ATA Board President Diane Fuselier-Thompson said, “ATA has been a leader in Concurrent College Enrollment dating back to its start at Lawrence Technology University in 1999 where it pioneered the concept of merging high school and college.”

In 2002, ATA received the CASE Silver Medal Award for merging the last two years of high school with college. In 2004 ATA implemented the platinum model of the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies aligning the award winning private sector curriculum with college courses.

In 2010, the charter public school was ranked one of Michigan’s top three charter public schools by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

Last year, the ATA program was highlighted in a national concurrent college enrollment conference held in Seattle by the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Programs.

State Supt. Michael P. Flanagan said in his approval letter to ATA: “Thank you for your request and for expanding opportunities for students. Expanding postsecondary dual enrollment options for Advanced Technology Academy students provides for flexibility and further options for students and parents in the district.”

About Advanced Technology Academy
Since 1999, the Dearborn-based Advanced Technology Academy has provided a unique education opportunity to residents of southeast Michigan. A tuition-free Michigan public school, ATA’s mission is to provide students with a high-quality interdisciplinary learning experience that is academically challenging. The academy partners with the community, business and institutions of higher education to create a learning environment that prepares students for success in college and professional careers. Learn more at or by calling 313-625-4701.