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'I'm Going To College' program sparks the interest of young Alaskans

by Jamie Gonzales  |   

On April 27, Iditarod Elementary School fifth-graders visited Mat-Su College for a day of age-appropriate classroom and hands-on activities. The visit was part of the "I'm Going to College" program, a partnership between the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) and UA College Savings Plan. The program encourages students to aspire to education and training beyond high school - whether it's an apprenticeship, a one-year technical program or a 10-year professional degree sequence - by teaching them that it is important and attainable.

In the nine years since Alaska's "I'm Going To College" program was launched, it has grown from 600 students participating on five college campuses to more than 2,300 students on 12 campuses across the state today.

By following the "I'm Going To College" classroom curriculum and then visiting a local campus, students learn about the benefits of attending college, compare different campuses, calculate college costs and learn steps they can take to qualify for financial aid such as the Alaska Performance Scholarship. The fun and educational campus visit gives students a sampling of college classes and lifestyle while inspiring them to include college in their future plans.

"I'm Going To College" alumnae are more likely to discuss college preparation with parents and teachers, and to understand college is possible for them. It is an opportunity for those children whose families may not have a college-going history to learn first-hand about the career avenues college offers and the fun of the college experience.

"I like that I got to experience what an actual college class is like. It was helpful and interesting," said one of last year's student participants from Joy Elementary School in Fairbanks.

For more information on the program, visit the Student Services website.

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