PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS Pittsfield, Massachusetts ADMISSION TO CAREER/VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

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1 STU-11 R-3/26/08 PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS Pittsfield, Massachusetts ADMISSION TO CAREER/VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS POLICY Admission of students to Career/Vocational Technical Education Programs shall be in accordance with the admission procedures approved by the School Committee and the Department of Career/Vocational Technical Education of the State Department of Education. The Pittsfield School System serves the residents of the City of Pittsfield and high school students from the Town of Richmond. All students who are residents of these communities are given equal consideration for admission to Career/Vocational Technical Education Technical programs according to admission regulations. Students residing outside the service region of the Pittsfield Public Schools are accepted as tuition students on a space available basis. Acceptance of post-graduate programs may be authorized by vote of the Pittsfield School Committee. REGULATIONS Career/Vocational Technical Education Admissions Procedures - Pittsfield Public Schools I. INTRODUCTION An admission process is necessary in career/vocational technical programs where there are more applicants than openings in order to determine which applicants may most benefit from such educational opportunities. All applicants to the career exploratory and career/vocational technical education programs for grades nine through twelve in the Pittsfield Public Schools will be evaluated using the selection criteria contained in this Admissions Policy. The Pittsfield School Committee approved on March 16, II. EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY The Pittsfield Public Schools admits students and makes available to them its advantages, privileges and courses of study without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. If there is a student with limited English proficiency, a qualified staff member will assist the applicant in completing the necessary forms and assist in interpreting during the entire application and admission process upon the request of the applicant. Students with disabilities may voluntarily self-identify for the purpose of requesting reasonable accommodations during the entire application and admission process. Information on limited English proficiency and/or disability submitted voluntarily by the applicant, for the purpose of receiving assistance and accommodations during the entire application and admission process, will not affect the applicant s admission to the career/vocational technical education program. III. ELIGIBILITY A The Pittsfield School System serves the residents of the City of Pittsfield and high school students from the town of Richmond. All students who are residents of these communities are given equal consideration for admission to Pittsfield s Vocational Technical Programs according to the criteria contained in this admissions policy.

2 B. Any eighth grade student who will be considered to be a resident to Pittsfield Public Schools in the ninth grade and expects to be promoted to grade nine by their current school, is eligible to apply for fall admission Pittsfield s Vocational Technical Program and career exploratory according to the criteria contained in this admission policy. An application must be submitted to Pittsfield Public Schools by April 1. Non-resident eighth grade students, that expect to be promoted to grade nine by their current school, are also eligible to apply for fall admission to Pittsfield s Vocational Program and career exploratory according to the criteria contained in this admissions policy. An application must be submitted to Pittsfield Public Schools by April 1. Priority for admission is given to Pittsfield Public School district residents. Grade 8 nonresident student applicants will be considered for any remaining openings after the selection of resident students. C. Any ninth, tenth or eleventh grade resident student who expects to be promoted to the grade they seek to enter by their current school, and had not enrolled in Pittsfield s Vocational Program and the career exploratory is eligible to apply for fall admission or admission during the current school year, and will be evaluated according to the criteria contained in this admission policy. Any ninth, tenth or eleventh grade non-resident student who expects to be promoted to the grade they seek to enter by their current school, and who has not enrolled in the Pittsfield s Vocational Program and career exploratory is eligible to apply for fall admission or admission during the current school year. Nonresident students will be evaluated according to the criteria contained in this admission policy. Priority for admission is given to Pittsfield Public School district residents. Non-resident ninth, tenth or eleventh grade students will be considered for any remaining Pittsfield Vocational Program openings after the selection of resident students. Transfer students from vocational technical programs are eligible to apply for fall admissions or admission during the school year to the vocational technical education programs grades 9-12 at Pittsfield Public Schools provided they expect to be promoted to the grade they seek to enter by their current school. Transfer students will be evaluated according to the criteria contained in this admission policy. IV. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE Career/Vocational technical programs are located within Taconic High School and Pittsfield High School; which are part of the Pittsfield Public Schools. Both high schools are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Pittsfield Public Schools is committed to providing quality career/vocational technical education programs. It is the responsibility of the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education to supervise the administration of these policies and procedures required to admit and enroll applicants in conformity with this Admissions Policy. The district has an Admissions Committee appointed annually by the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education. The committee consists of the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education, Building Principals, Guidance Directors; as well as Vocational Technical, Academic and Special Education Instructors. Responsibilities of the Admissions Committee include: standards of admission based on policies, regulations, and laws development and implementation of admission procedures processing of applications ranking of students acceptance of students according to the procedure and criteria in the admission policy establishment and maintenance of a waiting list of acceptable candidates The Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education is responsible for disseminating information about the Pittsfield Public Schools career/vocational technical educational programs throughout Berkshire County in school assemblies and press releases, and for collecting applications from students.

3 Pittsfield Public Schools does participate in the School Choice Program. V. RECRUITMENT PROCESS The Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education disseminates information throughout Berkshire County about the programs through a variety of methods. Visitations with an informational slide presentation to 8 th grade classes in local schools from December to February; and additional presentations as requested. Visitations by eighth grade students to the high schools vocational-technical programs at Taconic and Pittsfield High Schools. Open Houses at Taconic and Pittsfield High Schools are scheduled during winter. Prospective students and their parent(s)/guardians(s) have an opportunity to visit all vocational technical programs and speak with teachers as well as view a presentation about all offerings. Parent(s)/guardians(s) may schedule individual visits at a mutually convenient time. Brochures that describe vocational technical programs including academic courses, cooperative education, and special education resources, are distributed during the 8 th grade visitations and the Open House. VI. APPLICATION PROCESS APPLICATION PROCESS-FOR FALL ADMISSION* (Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Grade Program) 1. Students interested in applying to the Pittsfield Public Schools for fall admission into career/vocational technical education programs must: a. Obtain an application from the local school Guidance Counselor or the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education as early in the school year as possible. One application is all that is needed for Pittsfield Public Schools. It will cover admission to all vocational technical education programs in the event that a student is interested in more than one program. b. Return the completed application form to the local school Guidance Counselor or the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical education by the deadline. 2. It is the responsibility of the local school Guidance Counselor to: a. Provide information on student grades, attendance, and discipline to the office for Career/Vocational Technical Education as requested and in accordance with this policy. b. Forward the completed applications to the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education at the Pittsfield Public Schools by April 1 st. Complete applications include: (i) Completed application form, including required signatures. (ii) For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the average of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) grade 8 marks in English language arts, social studies, math and science from the local school report card/transcript are required. For applications to grades 10, 11 & 12 (fall admission) the average of the previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) of the current school year marks in English language arts, social studies, math and science from the local school report card/transcript is required. (iii) For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the sum of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) grade 8 unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript are required. For applications to grades 10, 11 & 12 (fall admission) the sum of the previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) current school year unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript is required.

4 (iv) For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the average of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) grade 8 assessments of behavior from the local school report card or from the local school Guidance Counselor s assessment are required. For applications to grades 10, 11 & 12 (fall admission) the average of the previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) of the current school year assessments of behavior from the local school report card or from the local school Guidance Counselor s assessment are required. 3. If incomplete applications are received, the following procedures will be followed: a. The Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education will notify the local school Guidance Counselor responsible for submitting the application that the application is incomplete and will request completion. b. The applicant s parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified by the Pittsfield Public Schools Admission Office in the event that the problem is not resolved by the local school Guidance Counselor. c. If after notifying the parent(s)/guardian(s), the application remains incomplete for 30 days, the application will be voided. Incomplete applications will not be considered in the admissions process. *Applying for admission during the winter and spring to begin classes the following fall APPLICATION PROCESS FOR ADMISSION FOR THE CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR* (Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Grade Program) 1. Students interested in applying to the Pittsfield Public Schools for admission into career/vocational technical education programs for the current school year must: a. obtain an application from their local school Guidance Counselor or the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education. One application is all that is needed for Pittsfield Public Schools. It will cover admission to all vocational technical programs in the event that a student is interested in more than one program. b. return the completed application form to their local school Guidance Counselor by the deadline set by the district. 2. It is the responsibility of the local school Guidance Counselor to: a. Provide information on student grades, attendance and discipline to the office for Career/Vocational Technical Education as requested and in accordance with this policy. b. Forward the completed applications to the Admission Coordinator at the Pittsfield Public Schools. Complete applications include: (i) Completed application form, including required signatures. (ii) The average of the previous school year and the current school year to the date of the application, marks in English language arts, social studies, math and science from the local school report card/transcript are required. (iii) The sum of the previous school year and the current school year to the date of the application, unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript are required. (iv) The average of the previous school year the current school year to the date of the application, assessments of behavior from the local school report card or from the local school Guidance Counselor assessment are required. 3. If incomplete applications are received, the following procedures will be followed a. The Pittsfield Public Schools Admission Office will notify the local school Guidance Counselor responsible for submitting the application, that the application is incomplete and will request completion.

5 SCHOOL CHOICE b. The applicant s parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified by the Pittsfield Public Schools Admission Office in the event the problem is not resolved by the local school Guidance Counselor. c. If after notifying the parent(s)/guardian(s), the application remains incomplete for 30 days, the application will be voided. Incomplete applications will not be considered in the admission process. *applying for admission during the school year to begin classes during the same school year, as opposed to applying for admission one school year to begin classes the next school year in the fall. Pittsfield Public Schools participates in the school choice program and students are accepted only as space is available. Students enrolling in Chapter 74-approved Vocational Technical Education programs will be enrolled under nonresident tuition agreements. Students enrolling in non-chapter 74 approved Career and Technical Education programs will be enrolled under school choice since nonresident tuition does not apply to non-chapter 74 programs. Students who begin their enrollment as School Choice students may remain as School Choice students throughout their enrollment at Pittsfield Public Schools providing they continue to reside outside of the District. Students who begin their enrollment in non-chapter 74 career and technical education programs as District residents and move outside of the District during their enrollment, who request to become School Choice students at Pittsfield Public Schools, may be allowed to do following the district s approved guidelines for school choice. Decisions for School Choice are made through the office of the Deputy Superintendent. All School Choice students must be able to arrange transportation to school or to a District bus stop. NONRESIDENT TUITION Students have the freedom to seek admission to schools with state-approved vocational technical education programs. Such programs are approved pursuant to M.G.L. c CMR 4.00 and are known as Chapter 74-approved programs. The student would file an application for admission to the school. Note that all students who seek admission to vocational technical education schools/programs must follow the admission process (including using school-provided application forms) of the school to which they seek admission. The Guidelines for Admission Policies of Vocational Technical Secondary Schools and Comprehensive Secondary Schools located at address admission to schools/programs. In the case of a student seeking admission to a school outside of his/her district of residence, the student and/or receiving district would also file a Chapter 74 Vocational Technical Education Nonresident Student Tuition Application (located at with the student's district of residence superintendent of schools. If accepted to a school that has a program in which the student would like to explore as a ninth grader and then study as a major, or begin studying as a tenth or eleventh grader and such program is not offered through the student's district of residence, the student's city/town would be liable for the payment of nonresident tuition for the program. A student may seek admission to a Chapter 74-approved program outside of his/her district of residence even if it is offered through his/her district of residence in anticipation of the same program not being available to him/her through his/her district of residence due to oversubscription. In such a case, the student must have applied for the Chapter 74-approved program offered through his/her district of residence before filing a Chapter 74 Vocational Technical Education Nonresident Student Tuition. The Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education will provide, upon request, a full list of those programs that are Chapter 74-approved vocational technical education programs.

6 A nonresident student seeking admission to Pittsfield Public Schools in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 under M.G.L. c. 74, Sections 7 and 7C must follow the admission process outlined in this Admission Policy. All nonresidents will be evaluated and ranked using the criteria contained in this Admissions Policy. In addition, such student must file a Chapter 74 Vocational Technical Nonresident Student Tuition Application (located at with the Superintendent of the student s District of Residence in accordance with the MA Department of Education Guidelines for the Vocational Technical Education Program Nonresident Student Tuition Process Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 74. If the student s parent/guardian finds that the decision of the Superintendent of the District of Residence is contrary to law, regulations, Board of Education or Department of Education policy, the application may be forwarded to the Department of Education for review within 10 business days of its receipt from the District of Residence. Students who begin their enrollment in a Chapter 74-approved vocational technical education program as District residents and move outside of the District during their enrollment, who request to remain in their vocational technical education program as nonresidents under M.G.L. c. 74, Sections 7 and 7C will be allowed to do so providing that such student files a Chapter 74 Vocational Technical Nonresident Student Tuition Application with the Superintendent of the student s District of Residence in accordance with the MA Department of Education Guidelines for the Vocational Technical Education Program Nonresident Student Tuition Process Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 74, and the Superintendent of the District of Residence approves the application. If the student s parent/guardian finds that the decision of the Superintendent of the District of Residence is contrary to law, regulations, Board of Education or Department of Education policy, the application may be forwarded to the Department of Education for review within 10 business days of its receipt from the District of Residence. M.G.L. c. 74 Section 8A requires that transportation be provided by the municipality of residence to students admitted to Pittsfield Public Schools as nonresidents under M.G.L. c. 74, Sections 7 and 7C. LATE APPLICATIONS 1. Applications received after April 1 st will be evaluated using the same criteria as other applications and the composite score will be integrated in rank order on the established waiting list. 2. Applications from students residing outside of Pittsfield may not be accepted if received after the April 1 st deadline. 3. Applications from Pittsfield resident students who wish to enroll in a vocational technical education program in another district, and who submit nonresident tuition forms after April 1 st, may not receive approval for such a placement. TRANSFER STUDENTS Applications from students who are enrolled in a state-approved (Chapter 74) vocational technical high school program in another school (transfer students) will be considered for admission (including admission during the school year) if they relocate away from their current school and wish to pursue the same program of study the Pittsfield Public Schools. Such applications will be evaluated according to the criteria contained in this Admission Policy. WITHDRAWN STUDENTS Students who withdraw from the Pittsfield Public Schools and who are attending or not attending another high school may reapply to the Pittsfield Public Schools following the procedures contained in this admission policy and will be evaluated using the criteria contained in this Admission Policy. Students may be placed back into their original program based on space availability.

7 VII. SELECTION CRITERIA The Admission Committee, using a weighted admissions criterion, processes completed applications. Each applicant will be assigned a score derived from the sum of the sub-scores of the following criteria: A. Scholastic Achievement: Maximum 40 points Grade Averages Points For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the average of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) grade 8 marks in English, social studies, mathematics and science from the local school report card/transcript are used. For applications to grades 10, 11 and 12 (fall admission) the average of previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) of the current school year marks in English, social studies, mathematics and science from the local school report card/transcript are used. For admission during the school year, marks in English, social studies, mathematics and science from the local school report card/transcript representing the previous year and current school year to the date of the application are used. B. Attendance: Maximum 20 points Unexcused Absences Points plus 0 For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the sum of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) grade 8 unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript are used. For applications to grades 10, 11 and 12 (fall admission), the sum of the previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) of current school year unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript are used. For admission during the school year the unexcused absences from the local school report card/transcript representing the previous school year and current school year to the date of the application are used. C. School Discipline/Conduct: Maximum 20 points Discipline Conduct Points Excellent 20 Above Average 15 Average 10 Below Average 5 Poor 0 For applications to grade 9 (fall admission), the average of grade 7 and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) of grade 8 assessments from the local school report card/transcript or from the local school Guidance Counselor s assessment are used. For applications to grades 10, 11 and 12 (fall admission), the average of the previous school year and semester 1 (terms 1 & 2) current school year assessments from the local school report card/transcript or from the Guidance Counselor s assessment are used. For admission during the school year), assessments from the local school report card/transcript or from the local school Guidance Counselor s assessment representing the previous school year and current school year to the date of the

8 application are used. After points are given in each area, the points are totaled for each applicant. A maximum total of 80 points can be earned. HOME SCHOOL STUDENTS Students who are formally being home schooled may apply for admission to career/vocational technical education programs provided all Admissions Policy criteria are followed. The Home School student's parent(s)/guardian(s) must submit a copy of the Home School approval letter from the local school superintendent and submit the required application form to Pittsfield public Schools on or before April 1 and if grades are not available, a representative sample or portfolio of the student's body of work in English language arts or its equivalent, math, science, and social studies. Home-schooled students will be ranked on their portfolio/grades as indicated in this policy (50%) and recommendation form (50%) based on the following point totals. Recommendation Form Rating Points Excellent 40 Above Average 30 Average 20 Below Average 10 Poor 0 VIII. SELECTION PROCESS The Admission Committee at the Pittsfield Public Schools will examine, discuss and make recommendations for action on all applications. The deadline for applications is April 1. The Admission Committee considers scholastic achievement, attendance, and school discipline/conduct. Applications are reviewed, processed and assigned points by grade level. After a point total for each resident applicant has been determined, all resident applicants are placed in order of their current grade and point total. Resident applicants are then accepted in order of the point total they have achieved. Priority is given to incoming resident ninth grade students to enroll in Career Exploratory, then remaining spots will be opened to current ninth and tenth grade students, The resident applicants with the highest point total is accepted first, the resident applicant with second highest point total is accepted second, and so on until all seats are filled. All resident applicants are accepted or placed on a waiting list. If openings occur, the seats are filled by accepting resident applicants from the waiting list. These resident applicants, like those accepted earlier, are accepted in order of their place on the waiting list determined by the point total given according to the selection criteria. Non-resident applicants are evaluated using the criteria contained in this Admission Policy and will be placed on the waiting list after the resident applicants. Non-resident applicants on the waiting list will only be accepted if all resident applicants on the waiting list have been accepted. Applications received after April 1 st will be evaluated using the same criteria as other applications and their composite score will be integrated in rank order on the established waiting list. All applicants whose applications are received by the Pittsfield Public Schools by April 1 are notified of their status by a letter to their parents/guardians and their local school Guidance Counselor by mid-may. Applicants whose completed applications are not received by the Pittsfield Public Schools by April 1 st may contact the Assistant Superintendent for Career/Vocational Technical Education for their status. IX. ENROLLMENT In order to enroll in the Pittsfield Public Schools for the fall, applicants must have been promoted to the grade they seek to enter by their local school district. In addition, they must have passed courses in English language arts or its equivalent and mathematics for the school year immediately preceding their enrollment at the Pittsfield Public Schools.

9 X. CAREER/VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL PROGRAM PLACEMENT All students who enroll in the Pittsfield Public Schools Vocational Program participate in a career exploratory designed to help them learn about their talents and interests relative to a variety of different career/vocational technical programs. These students explore each of the school s vocational shops as a part of the career exploratory program. Students are also instructed in safety, professionalism, work ethic, and all aspects of an industry. While enrolled in the career exploratory program, the students will be evaluated and scored (total of points) on shop grades received for the week in shop based on, safety (25%), daily coursework (15%), major projects (50%), and work effort (10%) (work effort must be graded based on the approved rubric so as to ensure nondiscrimination). A maximum of 100 points could be earned for each rotation. Upon completing their rotations as a part of the career exploratory program, the student s individual rotation grades are tallied. The marks a student earns in his or her first and second choice of career/vocational technical education program are doubled, then all grades from each rotation are added together. Students are admitted into the shop of their choice based on the sum point total they received in all shops combined during career exploratory. Students will then be listed in rank order based on this sum total. The student with the highest point total will receive his or her first choice of career vocational technical education program, the student with the second highest point total will receive his or her first choice of career/vocational technical education program, and so on. Going down the rank ordered list, students will be assigned their first choice of career/vocational technical education program until all seats in a specific program are full. If a student lists as his or her first choice a program that is already full, then he or she will be assigned his or her second choice of career/vocational technical education program. If a student lists as his or her first or second choice programs that are already full, then he or she will be assigned his or her third choice of career/vocational technical education program. If a student is not placed in his or her first, second, or third choice program because the programs were filled by students with higher point totals, the Guidance Counselor will meet with the student and present a list of the programs with openings which the student explored and ask the student to choose one of them. Students selecting shops from among the shops with openings, which the student explored will be admitted based on their point total. The process continues until all students are placed. A list will be kept of each career/vocational technical education program, the students who chose that program as their first choice, and their rank order. If seats in a program open up (for example, if a placed student moves outside of the district), then students from that waitlist will be invited to fill that open seat based on their point total. After placement, students continue to explore the program in which they were placed for the remainder of the half school year in order for them to continue to learn about their talents and interest. Students who wish to transfer from one program to another may apply for transfer. Transfer requests will be considered subject to the availability of openings in the requested program. After every student enrolled in the career exploratory program has been given the opportunity to enroll into a specific vocational program, vacancies may still exist in some programs. Students who have not participated in Career Exploratory but are interested in applying for these openings are ranked against the same admissions criteria listed in this admissions policy. XI. REVIEW AND APPEALS The applicant s parent(s)/guardian(s), upon receipt of a letter from the Pittsfield Public Schools indicating that the applicant was not accepted or was placed on a wait list, may request a review of the decision by sending a letter requesting a review to the Superintendent within thirty days of the receipt of the rejection/wait list letter. The Superintendent will respond in writing to the letter with the findings of the review within thirty days. If after the review the parent(s)/guardian(s) wish to appeal the findings of the review this may be done by sending a letter requesting that they be scheduled to appear before the School Committee to appeal the Superintendent s findings. The School Committee will respond in writing to the parent(s)/guardian(s) with a scheduled date for the appeal within thirty days of the receipt of the letter. The School Committee will respond in writing to the letter with their decision on the appeal within thirty days of the School Committee meeting when the appeal was presented.

10 The applicant s parent(s)/guardian(s), upon receipt of a letter from the Pittsfield Public Schools indicating that the applicant was not accepted or placed on a wait list for a particular program may request a review of the decision by sending a letter requesting a review to the Superintendent within thirty days of the receipt of the rejection/wait list letter. The Superintendent will respond in writing to the letter with the findings of the review within thirty days. REFERENCES M.G.L., CH. 74, S. 37B., APPROVAL OF POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS BY COMMISSIONER; TUITION The commission under the direction of the state board may approve nondegree granting vocational education programs at the postsecondary level. In making his decision, the commissioner shall take into consideration the availability of similar training opportunities at the secondary and public regional community college levels. Upon the vote of the school committee or board of trustees of any industrial, technical, or vocational school, tuition and other related fees may be charged to students residing in its city, town, or regional school district admitted to approved postsecondary vocational education programs in an amount not to exceed fifty percent of the average per pupil cost of such programs. M.G.L., CH. 74, S. 37C., ADMINISTRATION OF NON-RESIDENT; TUITION A student who resides in a city or town which does not offer approved vocational education programs at the postsecondary level may, upon the approval of the commissioner under the direction of the state board be admitted to such program in another city, town or regional school district. In making his determination the commissioner shall take into consideration the opportunities for free vocational training where the applicant resides, the preparation, age, aptitude, and previous records of the applicant, and other relevant circumstances, including the level of state assistance to such program. A student admitted under this provision shall be charged tuition and fees for the full amount of the average pupil cost of such program, as approved by the commissioner under the direction of the state board. Such students shall be eligible to apply for state scholarship aid pursuant to section seven of chapter fifteen A.

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