South student walking across campus.

Start South

Dual Enrollment Program: Start South
College level courses and a pathway to USA

Start South is USA’s dual enrollment program which works with area school systems to provide a college-level experience while in high school. Start South enables growth in college-ready skills as well as content knowledge, preparing our students to seamlessly enter collegiate life upon graduation from high school. Start South provides high school students the opportunity to enroll in courses that earn both high school and college credit while experiencing some of South’s best faculty.

  Start South Flyer  


▼   Incentives
  • Automatic Enrollment
    • Alabama residents participating in Start South can qualify for automatic admission to USA if they:
      » Successfully complete 9 or more credit hours of USA coursework listed by August 15 of your senior year.
      » Earn a minimum cumulative 3.0 USA GPA
  • Priority housing for entering freshmen
    • When a student earns 9 or more credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA by December of the senior year of high school.
  • Reduced Cost to Degree
  • Reduced Time to Degree
  • Satisfy Prerequisites for Majors in:
    • Allied Health
    • Arts & Sciences
    • Business
    • Computing
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
▼   Who is Eligible?
  • High school sophomore, junior, or senior
  • 3.0 or higher GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Written approval of the high school principal
▼   How Do I Apply?
  • No application fee!
  • Follow these steps to apply:
    • Click here to visit the online application site
    • Click on the entry term
    • Create an account
    • Fill out the online application for Start South
    • Request an authorization form from the counselor be emailed to
▼   Courses & Credits
  • College and high school credit for approved courses (designated Dual Enrollment).
  • Other courses earn college credit (designated Early College).
  • Start South students can take a max of 30 credit hours.
  • Cost of Start South courses is $167 per credit hour ($500 per 3 credit course).
▼   Support Services

Alice Abernathy photoAlice Abernathy is the Start South dual enrollment coordinator. Mrs. Abernathy earned a BS in Secondary Education with concentrations in French and English at the University of Alabama in 1993, an MA in English at Jacksonville State University in 2006, and an MS in Instructional Leadership from JSU in 2017. Mrs. Abernathy has been actively involved with NACEP, the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships since 2014 and was a member of their first leadership academy in 2018. Mrs. Abernathy served as an adjunct for the English department at JSU, and she was also a K-12 classroom teacher for 19 years in both private and public schools in Alabama and Georgia before moving into higher education.

▼   Application Deadlines
  • Spring 2022: December 15, 2021 (open now)
  • Summer 2022: May 27, 2022 (opens April 1)
  • Fall 2022: July 31, 2022 (opens April 1)