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UpGrade Program

UpGrade your high school experience!

UpGrade students now have several options for earning college credit while in high school. They may take dual enrollment courses taught at their high school; International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) classes and the subsequent tests; or they may attend classes on a community college campus through concurrent enrollment.  Students are required to pay standard testing fees for AP and IB courses and tuition for any concurrent courses taken on campus.

The UpGrade program allows students to follow a course pathway that leads to a college certificate, associate degree, and/or workforce credential.  Course pathways vary by high school. If you are interested in learning more, consult with your high school counselor to see which course options are offered at your school.

Download the UpGrade Application Form
Course Plans for General Education Certificate and General Studies, AS

Passed in 2012 by the Virginia Legislature, House Bill 1184 mandates that individualized agreements be set up between the Virginia Community College System and the high schools that surround each community college specifying the degree programs that are available to students.  

The UpGrade program, developed in response to HB 1184, defines the high-school specific pathways that students can follow to earn a General Education Certificate or an A.S. in General Studies degree through John Tyler Community College.  These two initial programs are designed for general transfer to a wide range of majors at four-year colleges and universities.  Each high school in the College’s service region offers different dual enrollment, IB and AP course options. This means some students may have to attend class at John Tyler, in order to complete one of the two options. 

Student performance in dual and concurrent courses will be recorded on a college transcript, and could therefore have an impact on future college admission and financial aid eligibility after high school graduation.  Students must, therefore, be prepared to perform at the college level. Federal regulations require that a student receiving federal financial aid make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with the standards set by the College and the federal government. These limitations include all terms of enrollment, whether or not aid was awarded or received.  College credit earned while in high school through dual or concurrent enrollment falls under these guidelines.  For more information on SAP, go to

Generally students must earn a C or better in a college class or a score of 3 or better on the AP exam, for a course to transfer.  However, each post-secondary institution determines their own transfer policy.  For more information on transfer policies and guaranteed admission agreements, go to

Students can also earn a Governor's Medallion upon successful completion of their college coursework. Students qualify for the medallion when they complete enough college credits to earn an Associate's degree, a General Education Certificate, or both.  Students will also be able to wear the Governor's Medallion as part of their academic regalia at their high school graduation ceremonies.

To learn more about earning college credit while in high school, contact your high school counselor or go to


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