Johnson C. Smith University will soon offer adult education classes, school president Ronald Carter announced today.

Using a three-year grant from the Duke Endowment, JCSU will launch what it calls a “Metropolitan College” for adults seeking continuing education courses and college degrees.

The continuing education program could begin as early as August, with the degree program likely to start in January.

“As soon as the dean is hired and in place we will launch,” Carter said in an interview with “The conceptual framework is in place, the funding is in place and we are putting the staff and infrastructure in place.“

Carter announced the school’s latest initiative at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum.

To avoid cannibalizing JCSU’s current enrollment, Metropolitan College will accept students only if they’ve been out of high school five years or more, assuming they have not attended college previously. Students with college experience would not be subject to the five-year rule.

The Duke Endowment gave the school about $750,000 to fund the program, Carter said. He said he hopes to have about 400 students enrolled by the end of the three-year commitment.

Asked how Metropolitan College will differ from programs offered at Central Piedmont Community College, Carter said he hopes the two schools will accept one another’s course credits. A student who receives an associate’s degree at CPCC, he said, might use those credits to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan College.

The breakfast form starts at 8 a.m. each Tuesday inside the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2400 Kendall Drive, just down the hill from West Charlotte High School.

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