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Tech Prep Program Gives FNSBSD High School Students a Jump Start on College

Submitted by Scott McCrea
Phone: (907) 474-1157

12/04/02

If high school student "A" is taking a vocational-technical class in high school and signs up to receive college credit for the class, but high school student "B" taking the same class doesn't sign up to receive the credit, which one is going to get a jump start on their future college and career success?

It's analysis questions like this that have stumped students on scholastic achievement tests for years. But unlike the questions on the test, the answer to this one is plain and simple.

Thanks to a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks Tanana Valley Campus and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, local students can receive college credit at UAF for specific high school courses through a program known as Tech Prep. The courses are taught in the high schools by FNSBSD faculty, and are pre-approved by the university to make sure the content is similar to what is being taught at UAF. To earn the credits, students have to only pay a $30 fee per course, a tremendous cost savings considering that they would be paying $246 to $279 if they were taking the course at UAF.

"The exciting thing about this partnership is that it's the students who will benefit the most," said Ernie Manzie, FNSBSD assistant superintendent. "The ability to develop a college transcript while still in high school, and pay next to nothing to do so, will give them enormous potential for future collegiate and career success."

TVC Associate Director Victoria Foote agreed with Manzie's assessment, and added that the program also helps boost the student's self-awareness.

"They get to see the relevance of the curriculum by learning skills they can use when employed," she said.

The Tech Prep program had been in existence for several years, but was just recently redesigned by university and FNSBSD officials to make the process easier for the students.

The classes available for credit will vary from school to school, but in general, they will be taken from the following areas: automotive and diesel mechanics, aviation maintenance technology, human services, computer information office systems, office management and technology, drafting, health, accounting, emergency medical services, and welding. The credits earned can be applied towards a certificate or associate's degree at the TVC, or can be transferred to another university or college.

There is no limit on the total number credits a student may receive through Tech Prep. Students may also request "credit after the fact" for up to three years after completing the FNSBSD course, providing the courses were approved by the university at the time of completion.

Students enrolled in the Tech Prep program will also have access to the university's vast resources, such as academic and career advising.

"Given the technical needs of Alaska's workplace, we predict the revitalized Tech Prep program will be extremely successful," said Foote. "If we can give our local students the education and training they need to move into those jobs, than it is a win-win situation for the entire state."

CONTACT: TVC Associate Director Victoria Foote at (907) 474-1153 or FNSBSD Curriculum Director Kathy Hughes at (907) 452-2000 extension 423.