Press Release – by Peggy Erkeneff
Soldotna, April 7, 2014—JumpStart opens to juniors, and includes bus transportation from high schools to KPC. Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) officials jointly announced two new initiatives will enable more high school students to take KPC courses at reduced tuition rates.
Beginning with the fall 2014 semester, high school juniors will be able to take advantage of the JumpStart program that had previously only been available to high school seniors. Students can enroll for up to six credits each semester starting the fall semester they become juniors. Tuition cost is $55 per credit versus the regular rate of $174.
Funded by a 1/10th mill rate on borough property taxes, JumpStart has been in existence for many years. Opening the program to juniors means that high school students will be able to take up to 30 credits (one full college year) at the reduced rate—by the time they graduate from high school.
Students and their parents can potentially save $3,570 on their first year of college compared to regular University of Alaska rates. [See the attached tuition comparison chart on page three of media release]. These courses are dual credit meaning students taking the KPC courses receive both high school and college credit if they successfully complete the course(s) with a “C” or better. Course credits earned at KPC through the University of Alaska are typically transferable to accredited colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Secondly, KPBSD will transport KPC enrolled students from all central peninsula high schools to KPC’s Kenai River Campus in order to take courses. Buses will arrive at Kenai River Campus (KRC) at 9 a.m. and the last departure will be at 1:30 p.m. Nikiski students would depart their high school and KRC 15 minutes earlier.
The shuttle service will provide continuous service between the schools throughout this period meaning a student could take one or two classes at KRC and return to their high schools to continue their high school classes. Bussing students on the southern peninsula to KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus is still being discussed with high school administrators and transportation providers.
“I get many requests from parents asking that the JumpStart program be opened to juniors,” said Gary J. Turner, KPC director. “Due to the declining number of high school seniors, we looked closely at our borough budget and the projected number of seniors the district is anticipating, and determined we can afford to do this with the same amount of funds.” The borough budget request sent by KPC to the mayor and assembly has been revised to include juniors.
“Access to KPC courses has always been a challenge to our students without transportation,” said Dr. Steve Atwater, KPBSD superintendent. “We believe that by providing a shuttle, many more of our students will be able to take these dual credit classes and save a considerable amount of money on their college education. I am thrilled to learn that our juniors will now be eligible to use the JumpStart support for taking KPC classes. This is a necessary and positive change to help our graduates prepare for life after high school. I offer thanks to our borough for their continued support of KPBSD and KPC.”
Registration and advising for high school students at the Kenai River Campus (KRC) in Soldotna will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., April 26, and from 3-5 p.m., April 28. Students who do not enroll during these “early bird” sessions will be able to receive advising from 1-4 p.m., August 13, and enroll in classes from noon-5 p.m., August 15 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., August 21 and 22.
High school students can receive advising and register at the Kachemak Bay Campus (KBC) in Homer from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., April 21 – August 22.