Dual enrollment programs provide access to college-level courses to high school students prior to graduation, often helping students become more successful in high school and easing their path to college. Between 2008 and 2017, University of Alaska (UA) dual enrollment programs experienced an 85 percent increase in student enrollment and, among those who graduated from high school, 41 percent went on to attend a UA institution within a year.
The new report, Dual Enrollment in Alaska: A 10-year retrospective and outcome analysis, by Dayna DeFeo, director of ISER’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, and Trang Tran, ISER Research Professional, looks at 10 years of UA enrollment records for dual enrollment (DE) offerings and includes 15,473 students who attended Alaska public neighborhood schools. The study provides an overview of dual enrollment – including types of programs, participation, and performance – and highlights opportunities to build on the current successes.
Located a 10-minute drive north from UAA’s Main Campus and right on Merrill Field lies the Aviation Technology Center. While the historic Anchorage airport is a natural home for the university’s aviation programs, the separation can sometimes make it easy to forget about that corner of campus.
Despite the distance, the Aviation Technology Division (ATD) is anything but an aside. Housed under UAA’s Community and Technical College, ATD boasts a nearly 100 percent job placement rate for graduates from all four of its programs: aviation maintenance technology, air traffic control, professional piloting and aviation administration.
“It is unlikely that you can go to an aviation employer in this state and not find a graduate from our programs,” says Paul Herrick, UAA’s new ATD director. “The way we state it is that everyone who looks for a job, gets a job. You have to not want a job to not get one. Our students’ large presence in Alaska aviation is a legacy that we’re really proud of.”
That legacy includes a whole range of positions with small operators, regional airlines, major air carriers and even the Federal Aviation Administration.
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Marianne Murray, director of the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing, said the demand for nurses is increasing as the state’s population ages.
“One of the reasons why is because Alaska has what we call a ‘silver tsunami’ which is, our population is aging,” she said. “And of course, with an aging population, we have an increase in health care needs.”
Murray said UAA is actively working to help fill the gap for health care workers, especially nurses. The nursing school offers both a four-year bachelor’s and two-year associate’s degree in the profession. Although, realistically, Murray said the associate’s degree takes three years to complete.
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Many college students struggle with the balance of going to class and having to work to pay for their education. Rather than waiting until after graduation to start making money, students in the UAA Aviation Degree & Airline Pilot Employment program can now start working while finishing their education.
On Wednesday, UAA and Ravn Air Group announced the launch of a new program that allows students to simultaneously complete their aviation degree and work as regional airline pilots.
“The uniqueness is that the pilots come to us already qualified, but they are not yet finished with their undergraduate,” Ravn Senior Vice President of Flight Operations Deke Abbott said. “So they get credit for their undergraduate degree, while at the same time earning a living as a new commercial pilot.”
The program is a win-win for Ravn and for the students, UAA Director of Aviation Technology Paul Herrick said.
“The employment component is the different element of this, which we are really excited about,” he said. “Because students do want to get out and start making money, and start advancing their career with an actual air carrier.”
UAA’s aviation maintenance, piloting and air traffic control programs have been in place for nearly three decades and have supplied the aviation workforce in Alaska, Herrick said.