ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program was awarded $5 million to expand its full-time Acceleration Academy component to three more Alaska communities. Currently operating in Anchorage, Bethel and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Acceleration Academy will become available to students in Dillingham, Kotzebue and Juneau in fall 2022. A residential component will be added in Anchorage. The State of Alaska is funding the program’s expansion as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act Education Stabilization Fund and the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund, with $2.5 million designated from each.
Acceleration Academy gives students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and simultaneously earn free college credits toward a bachelor’s degree in any field of study. Students can go from eighth grade to having a bachelor’s degree in as few as five years. In fall 2021, across three campuses 94 students earned a total of 840 college credits. During its very first semester, 20 students at ANSEP’s Acceleration Academy (Bethel) earned 216 credits at a 92% credit completion rate. The component’s success in Bethel showcases its scalability to other communities in both urban and rural Alaska.
“These grants are a $5 million statement from the State of Alaska. Working with our school district, community campus, and dozens of strategic partner organizations, we intend to make a quality education and a life of unlimited possibilities available for every student in Alaska,” said ANSEP Founder and Vice Provost Dr. Herb Schroeder.
In addition to getting students hyper-prepared academically and socially for college, Acceleration Academy saves students and their families up to $75,000 in college expenses since the students earn college credits for free while they are still in high school. This also saves the State of Alaska $13,000 in education funding per student per year. At scale, this means many millions of dollars in savings for the state and a dramatic improvement in student academic performance. ANSEP provides multiple scholarship opportunities and academic resources for students from kindergarten all the way through to the PhD level.