By Stan Friedman
SOLDOTNA, AK (October 7, 2014) — Enrollment at Alaska Christian College this fall is at a record high, said President Keith Hamilton.
“We have broken all records by a large margin and filled nearly every bed on campus,” Hamilton said. “We are surely in a great growth pattern with our new AA degrees and excellent work serving our main constituency—the Alaska Native student.”
Fall enrollment is 68, which includes one employee taking courses. Spring enrollment was 58, which included three employees.
“I am excited to see the number of students from Western Alaska who are willing to invest in their education and their future,” said Jeff Siemers, executive vice president and chief academic officer.
Students come from 26 different Alaskan communities as well as several from the Lower 48, Siemers said. “We continue to build contacts across the state and generate applications through individual, face-to-face contacts with students in rural Alaska. I believe our students and our alumni are our best recruiters, and they have been great examples to potential students. As a maturing institution, we have fine-tuned our recruitment strategies, and we are becoming more well-known in the high schools.”
The college serves predominantly low-income Alaska Native students from villages across the bush area of the state. It works intentionally to help them make the difficult transition from village life to their first year of college.
Less than 5 percent of Alaska Native high-school graduates complete even their first semester of college, statistics show. Alaska Christian College operates part of its program in cooperation with nearby Kenai Peninsula College, an extension of the University of Alaska Anchorage.
“As a faculty and staff, our prayers have been that students would feel, in a tangible way, the compelling love of Christ that calls them first to himself and also in community with those who pursue his kingdom purposes,” Siemers said. “This love is expressed through their studies and their focus on relationship with one another.”
The school was founded in 2001 and received accreditation in 2012 from the Association for Biblical Higher Education, a faster process than normal. In granting accreditation, the ABHE cited the school’s continual pursuit of improving its program.