This school year, nearly 150 Alaska high school students are participating in the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program’s Acceleration Academy (Full-Time) opportunity. What began 13 years ago as a summer opportunity for high school students to earn college credits at no cost, Acceleration Academy is now a full-time opportunity helping students go from eighth grade to a bachelor’s degree in just five years and saving them up to $75,000 in college costs.
Students in ANSEP’s full-time Acceleration Academy opportunity complete their high school graduation requirements through college courses taken during the academic year. The average graduate of Acceleration Academy begins their freshman year of college with 50 college credits, thus eliminating two years of college courses, and some students earn more than 100 credits.
On top of students saving on college expenses, state/local/federal governments spend only one third of the cost they would normally expend for a student to earn a degree at the University of Alaska. In addition to advancing their education, students become hyper-prepared socially and professionally for college and future STEM careers. Since launching the full-time opportunity in 2015, it has seen tremendous growth and success in making an impact in the lives of students and their families across Alaska.
A grant awarded to ANSEP earlier this year accelerated expansion plans for the component, allowing ANSEP to launch the opportunity in Kotzebue and add a year-round residential element to the Anchorage campus. The component’s inaugural year in Kotzebue is underway with nine students, while the residential opportunity welcomes 14 students from 13 communities across the state. The Bethel location, which opened just last year, is underway with 25 students.
This fall, there are over 230 university students in ANSEP at UAA and UAF campuses, and 144 of those students are still in high school with Acceleration Academy. Throughout the school year, ANSEP Acceleration Academy and University Success students will participate in community building activities, weekly group study sessions, cultural activities and weekly community meetings. At these weekly community meetings, students will learn about internship and scholarship opportunities from ANSEP partners, network with STEM professionals, and continuously develop their public speaking skills. ANSEP plans to make the Acceleration Academy opportunity available to students in every region of Alaska by launching Acceleration Academies at every University of Alaska campus.
“From being a student to now being senior director of Acceleration Academy, it has been incredible seeing the component’s growth and impact over the years,” said ANSEP Senior Director of Acceleration Academy Michael Ulroan. “The full-time component is making a real difference in the lives of Alaska’s students and their families, and that will make a difference for the future of Alaska. We are proud to deliver these unmatched opportunities to more and more students across Alaska.”
Applications for the spring 2023 semester for all campuses are now open. Any student enrolled in ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th grade in Alaska is eligible to apply. The priority application deadline is Monday, Nov. 7. Applications will not be accepted after Wednesday, Dec. 7. To learn more about ANSEP and the opportunities available for Alaskan students, visit www.ANSEP.net.