Gates donates to Durham Tech

October 21, 2009 7:46:05 AM PDT
Durham Technical College announced Wednesday that it's getting a $300,000 grant from the Gateway to College National Network.The money comes from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

Durham Tech will use the cash to plan and start up a high school dropout recovery program.

"Locally, regionally, and nationally there is a growing recognition that community colleges have a significant role to play in dropout recovery efforts," said Dr. Bill Ingram, president of Durham Tech.

While Durham's dropout rate is below the state average, it's still a significant problem.

Durham Public Schools said in February that the dropout rate for the 2007-2008 school year was 4.19 percent - meaning 439 students left school before graduating.

Durham Tech will try and turn that around with a program called Gateway to College, which allows high school dropouts (ages 16-21) to complete their high school diploma while at the same time also earning college credits.

"A GED alone is not the best solution for younger high school dropouts," Ingram said. "The Gateway to College initiative will allow us to provide these students with the academic and social support mechanisms they need to be successful, both in completing high school and in pursuing higher education opportunities."

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