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Where is the Vail Early College located?

We are located at Pima Community College East on 8181 East Irvington Rd. Our office is E5-502.

For the start of the 2020-21 SY, the Vail Early College will be located at its temporary home, Mica Mountain High School due to the closure of Pima campuses. We will return to Pima East Campus once we are allowed to do so.

Where will I be taking all my classes?

The Vail Early College is located at Pima Community College East, so all classes will take place in Pima East classroom. The only classes VEC students might be taking off Pima’s campus is an approved zero hour course at their graduating high school or a JTED course in the afternoon.

Changes for 2020-21SY:

Pima Community College has moved all in person classes to a virtual mode for the fall semester. The Vail Early College will be in a “VEC Hybrid Mode” at our temporary home, Mica Mountain HS, once in person classes can begin. Students will come to MMHS Monday through Thursday for their in person VEC high school classes and to attend their virtual Pima classes.

More information on a day in the life of a VEC student can be found in this Back to School video:

What Pima courses will I take?

Students will select 3-4 Pima courses per semester from a wide variety of approved courses offered on the Pima East campus and based on the level of academic supports a student coming into the program might need. We follow the AGEC for selecting approved courses to ensure that courses transfer and help students will future college goals.

Here are a variety of Sample EC Student Pima Schedules based on current Pima courses that students are taking and their intended college plan.

What classes will I be required to take?

Along with taking 3-4 Pima courses, all Vail Early College students are required to take the following high school level courses American Government and College Success, which will be taught by a VEC teacher. VEC students will also complete the Senior Exit Project.

Pima courses will be chosen based on HS graduation requirements as well as the college plan of each individual student.

What is the typical school day at the Vail Early College?

Since the Vail Early College follows Pima’s calendar and daily class schedule, we run on a block schedule that starts in August. Students in the Early College are required to be at Pima from 9am – 2pm, Monday through Thursday.

For information about Friday’s see the FAQ about Flex/Workshop Fridays.

Temporary Changes for 2020SY

Students will report to Mica Mountain High School instead of Pima East Campus, until such time as we can return to Pima. Once we are able to meet in person, students will be at MMHS from 9am – 2pm, M-Th for in person & virtual classes. More information on a day in the life of a VEC student can be found in this Back to School video:

Do I really have to be on campus from 9am - 2pm or can I leave early?

It is a requirement of the Vail Early College that students are on campus from 9am – 2pm, Monday through Thursday. Students should expect to use this time to collaborate with peers, seek out support, attend office hours, and more importantly STUDY! 


Change for 2020SY

Once in person classes may begin, students will be at MMHS from 9am – 2pm for in person & virtual classes. Students are expected to keep the time between 9am – 2pm reserved for academic pursuits. 

What is Flex/Workshop Friday?

Friday’s at the VEC are either a Flex Friday or a Workshop Friday.

Students are not required to have a college class on Friday’s but they may choose to do so in order to make their ideal schedule work and have enough time in their day for learning center hours, studying, and eating. 🙂

On Flex Friday – Students who have a college course are only required to come to Pima for the time that class is scheduled. Students who don’t have a college course on Friday may choose to come or use this day for SEP, work, appointments, etc.

On Workshop Friday – Two Friday’s a month are Workshop Friday in which all students, regardless of having a college class, are required to attend a scheduled workshop. These workshops cover timely information such as completion of the FAFSA.

All Workshop & Flex Friday’s are pre-scheduled and published on the Vail Early College student calendar so students can plan accordingly!

Changes for Fall 2020

Flex Friday will be entirely virtual for the Fall Semester. The pre-scheduled Friday Workshops will be done virtually. Students will not be required to come to campus. However, they are welcome to come to campus on Friday once in person meetings can begin.

Will I have a Senior Exit Project at the Vail Early College?

Yes! SEP is a graduation requirement for all students in the Vail School District. However, all Vail Early College students will follow the SEP for the VEC. More information about the Vail Early College SEP can be found at

What is the AGEC?

AGEC (Arizona General Education Curriculum) are courses which meet lower division general education requirements for UA, NAU, ASU and other institutions, as well as the general education requirements for Pima’s transfer degrees. AGEC is the focus of the Pima courses that Vail Early College students will take.

There are three AGECs: AGEC-A (Liberal Arts), AGEC-S (Science), AGEC-B (Business)

More information can be found here: AGEC Information

Will I still be eligible for University Scholarships, such as the NAU Lumberjack?

Yes! Since you are earning your college credits while at the Vail Early College and prior to graduating from high school, you will be considered a freshman upon entering a four year university. As long as the students are dual enrolling (which you are), the classes will appear on the students’ high school transcript and be evaluated in the same manner as high school courses.

One important note though, after students graduate high school, if they earn 12 or more credits at the college level, they will be considered a Transfer student instead of a Freshman. This will impact scholarships, housing, etc. so it is important that college courses taken post-graduation are be closely monitored. College courses taken during the student’s high school career will not be counted toward Transfer status but any after will be!

Will I be considered as a freshman when I transfer to a 4-year university?

Well that all depends… but in general the answer is Yes!

If you go straight to a four-year university after graduation, you will be considered a freshman. You will have the advantage of having enough credits to be considered a sophomore but you will not lose out on the opportunity for freshman scholarships, etc.

If you stay at Pima for additional credits, you could considered a transfer student and then would be the “grade” level based on the amount of credits you transfer to that four-year university. Earning over 12 credits after graduation would cause you to be considered a transfer student.

Will I be able to buy a yearbook from my graduating high school? What about senior pictures?

Of course! While you may not be in it as much as prior years, you are still able to purchase a yearbook. Vail Early College students will also still be able to have their senior picture in the yearbook of their graduating high school. Students and their parents are encouraged to pay attention to emails from high schools regarding graduation to make sure they do not miss the information regarding yearbooks and pictures.

What is the cost to attend the Vail Early College?

In general, nothing!  All approved Pima course fees, including textbooks* will be paid for by the Vail Early College.

However, there will be some fees and items that students will be responsible for such as:

  • Purchase a graphing calculator (TI-84)
  • Pay any applicable fees to their graduation high school (such as senior class fee or computer insurance fee)
  • Purchase regular school supplies, such as paper, pencils, folders, etc.
  • Vail Early College student fee – This fee varies year to year but is never more than $50. The fee covers supplies used by student as well as year-end graduation recognitions. 

*Note: Only books/supplies that can be purchased through the Pima Bookstore or vendors approved by the district are eligible. Any book/supply not able to be purchased through the bookstore or approved vendor will need to be purchased by the student. This is a rare situation but it does happen.

All textbooks purchased for students are the property of the Vail Early College/Vail School District. Students may purchase their own books if they want to write in them or keep them for future reference.

Is transportation provided?

Due to changing transportation needs within the district, transportation to Pima may no longer be possible. Also, since Pima runs on a very different academic calendar than Vail students are encouraged to make transportation arrangements and not to rely on district bussing.

Changes for 2020SY

Since we will be at our temporary home, Mica Mountain HS, students will be able to take the bus to and from Mica Mountain High School. Families just need to find the route that takes students from their location to MMHS. If we are able to return to Pima East, we will work out transportation when that time comes!

Do I need to attend information nights at my graduating high school?

Generally no. Most of the information, such as SEP information night, does not pertain to Vail Early College students. However, if we find out about an information night at your graduating high school you should attend (like information regarding graduation), we will send that information out.

Do I need to go to the Fee Pay day for my high school of graduation?

If you want a HS school ID so you can attend dances and get discounts on sporting events, YES!  (2020SY Note: Since we will be at MMHS until Pima East campus reopens, each VEC student will get a VEC student ID!) 

Otherwise… each HS is different. Some have fees and some don’t. Here is what you need to know regarding each High School: 


  • Senior Fee: TBA
  • If you are using a district laptop, then you will need to go to sign forms and pay the insurance fee 
  • If you are taking a zero hour class that has a fee, you are responsible for paying that course fee.


  • Senior Class fee= $15
  • Senior Picture Fee = $15 (senior picture sitting fee for Yearbook)
  • If you are using a district laptop, then you will need to go to sign forms and pay the insurance fee. 
  • If you are participating in an Activity (i.e. sport/marching band) you are responsible for paying that fee. 


  • Senior Class fee= $10 
  • If you are using a district laptop, then you will need to go to sign forms and pay the insurance fee. 
  • If you are participating in an Activity or Zero Hour class that has a fee (i.e. sport/marching band) you are responsible for paying that course fee.

Vail Academy

  • If you are using a district laptop, then you will need to go to sign forms and pay the insurance fee. 
  • If you are participating in an Activity that has a fee, you are responsible for paying that fee.

Does the VEC have a course fee? 

  • Pending Board approval, the VEC will have a College Success class fee of $50 for the 2020-21SY. This fee will cover College Success / Bootcamp supplies and memorabilia, VEC graduation stoles, and other materials and items needed to support the Vail Early College student in their College Success. Funds will be collected through MMHS. 

When will I get my textbooks? Do I need to buy them?

VEC students will get all required textbooks for Pima classes during the Fall & Spring semester bootcamps. Only books and resources that can be purchased through the Pima Bookstore will be able to be obtained by the VEC for students. Note: While it is rare, if an instructor has a required source that is not able to be purchased through the Pima Bookstore, students will need to purchase this item themselves.

Laptops: Can we still use a district laptop?

Yes, you may still use the district Chromebook you have been using. However, students are able to bring their own laptop and sign into the Pima wifi.

Due to issues with some college course material/books and the VSD filter, it is encouraged for students to use their own computer. Pima has laptops available for check out in the library and a large computer lab, as well as classrooms with computers.

Do I need a parking permit?

No! Pima has plenty of free parking and no permit is needed. Early College students will not need a parking permit at their high school of graduation, as they will not be on campus during school hours.

Changes for 2020SY 

Mica Mountain HS has a large parking lot and will have only a small class of juniors and no seniors, so parking should not be an issue. If permits are needed to park at MMHS, this information will be provided as soon as possible.

School IDs???

All VEC students will have a Pima student ID, which they should have with them on a daily basis. All Pima resources require a Pima student ID.

Getting a student ID from your high school of graduation is up to you. If you plan on attending dances and other school functions where an ID is needed, then get one. Your Pima ID work in these situations. Also, if you want to get student discounts at sporting/performance events, you should get one too as your Pima ID also might not apply.

Changes for 2020SY 

VEC students will be issued a VEC student ID for our time at Mica Mountain HS.  More information about IDs will be given during Bootcamp, or as we get closer to the ability to meet in-person. 

Graduation & High School Diploma

Our #1 focus for each of our Vail Early College students is graduating from your originating high school with a bunch of college credits! Each VEC student will earn a diploma from the Vail high school that they attended prior to joining the Vail Early College. Information regarding graduation will be distributed to students from each of the high schools as the information becomes available. Walking at graduation is optional, but VEC students not planning on walking should let their graduating high school know so they can plan accordingly.

Transcripts, GPA & Class Ranking

All courses taken at Vail Early College will appear on the high school transcripts of Early College students.

All Pima grades earned will be added to the high school transcripts of Vail Early College students once the grades are released to the VEC staff by Pima at the end of each semester.

GPA and Class Ranking will be calculated according to how the graduating high school calculates GPA & Class Rank. Since all Vail Early College students will still be in the Powerschool systems of their graduating high school, they will still be calculated as if they were currently at that high school. This makes for ease in pulling transcripts for college application, etc. However, each student should talk to their graduating high school for information about how their transfer credits will be treated.

Valedictorian: Each graduating high school has a policy regarding how it determines and who is eligible to be Valedictorian and Salutatorian.  By being part of the Vail Early College program, students may forfeit this opportunity so it is important for a student that might be in this situation to understand the policies of their high school of graduation. The Vail Early College staff has no control over these policies.

Can I play sports/clubs at my High School and still be in the Early College?

YES!  All Vail Early College students are still enrolled at their high school of graduation. This means they are eligible to participate in all extra-curricular activities their high school offers!

Can I take a zero hour class at my High School?

Due to the start time of the Vail Early College (9am) students have the option of taking zero hour classes, such as Marching Band, NJROTC, or Medical Assisting II, at their high school of graduation. However, we ask that all students wishing to do this conference with the VEC staff to ensure students have proper supports for the extra time commitment.

What is Bootcamp?

Bootcamp is a structured time prior to the start of each Pima semester in which Vail Early College students come together to participate in workshops and other activities to help ensure success in college courses. Workshops include (but are not limited to) presentations from Pima faculty & instructors, preparation on the differences between high school and college, campus tours, and lots of team building.

Fall Bootcamp is the 6 days prior to Pima’s start date in August.

Spring Bootcamp is the 3 days prior to Pima’s start date in January.

Both Fall & Spring Bootcamp days are required and are part of the Vail Early College school calendar.

I don't live in the Vail School District, can I still apply?

Not In the Vail School District? No worries, you may still apply at the Vail Early College. If you are accepted into the program you will be enrolled at Cienega High School and get your diploma from that high school to go along with your college credits. This also applies to homeschool students. 

Note: All Vail Early College students will be expected to meet Vail’s High School graduation requirements. 

What is the Vail Early College's response to COVID-19?

Please see our COVID-19 page for more information regarding this topic .