Around Campus: KPC, KPBSD partner to expand JumpStart program

Kenai Peninsula College and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced expansion of the Kenai Peninsula Borough sponsored program that offers high school seniors discounted college tuition. 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 seniors. Students will be able to enroll for up to six credits each semester starting the fall semester they become juniors. JumpStart tuition cost this fall will be $55 per credit versus the regular rate of $174.

Funded by a one tenth 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. 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. Credits earned at KPC through the University of Alaska are typically transferable to accredited colleges and universities throughout the country.

In an effort to facilitate this expanded opportunity for high school students, KPBSD will transport KPC enrolled students from all central peninsula high schools to KPC’s Kenai River Campus. Buses will arrive at KRC at 9 a.m. with the last departure at 1:30 p.m. with adjustments for Nikiski students’ longer travel times.

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 school to continue classes. Bussing students on the southern peninsula to KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus is still being discussed with high school administrators and transportation providers.

KPC Director Gary Turner emphasized that because of the declining number of high school seniors in the district, the college looked closely at the funding KPC receives from the borough and determined that expanding the program to include high school juniors could be done with the same budget.

“Consequently, the borough budget request we sent to the mayor and assembly has been revised to include juniors,” said Turner.

Expansion of JumpStart, adding a shuttle service and the resulting savings on college tuition for high school juniors and seniors was applauded by KPBSD Superintendent Steve Atwater.

“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,” said Atwater.

According to Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications specialist, the transportation piece of the expanded program doesn’t impact the district’s budget because buses and drivers are contracted for the day.

Registration and advising for high school students at KRC 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 in Homer can receive advising and register at KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., April 21 - August 22.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, Advancement Programs Manager at Kenai Peninsula College.

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