by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., May 18, 2004 – Socorro High School students will now be able to take Calculus I at New Mexico Tech, free of charge, under a newly established pilot program for the 2004-2005 academic year, which is set to get underway this coming fall semester.

Under the new program, SHS seniors also will be allowed to enroll in an Introductory Physics course the following spring semester at the research university without having to pay tuition and fees.

Officials from New Mexico Tech and the Socorro Consolidated Schools recently signed off on the collaborative program that allows local high school students to attend their first three classes at Socorro High School, and then attend Tech in the afternoon for their final class of the school day.

Students who successfully complete either or both of the two courses currently being offered through the program will earn both high school and college credits for their academic efforts.

New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López has agreed to pay tuition and fees for any Socorro High School student who is interested in taking these classes, and has also consented to provide funds to purchase required textbooks for students who can demonstrate financial need.

In addition, students requiring transportation from Socorro High School to New Mexico Tech will be provided with daily rides on school buses at the appropriate times.

“If this pilot program works out well, there’s a good chance that it may be expanded to include other courses at New Mexico Tech,” says Bill Stone, a professor of mathematics at the university and chair of that department.

“There’s already been interest expressed at both Socorro High School and New Mexico Tech about possibly offering classes in psychology and computer-aided design in subsequent years through this program,” he says.

Stone is a member of the ad hoc committee that was specifically set up by the New Mexico Tech Faculty Council to explore the possibilities of establishing cooperative programs between New Mexico Tech and Socorro Consolidated Schools.