The students first attend ACC for one or two years and can then transfer some or all of their credits towards a four-year degree, says Mark Olson, North Park dean of enrollment.
Because ACC is not yet accredited, students cannot transfer credits to public universities.
“This partnership is important for our students wishing to move on in their higher education degrees following completion at ACC,” says the school’s president, Keith Hamilton. The school expects to be fully accredited in 2011.
Fewer than five percent of Alaska Native high school graduates complete their first semester of college, statistics show. ACC helps students – most from small and even remote villages – transition through their first years of college.
Making a subsequent transition from living in a Bush village to Chicago also can be overwhelming, but Hamilton says, “There are usually a number of seminary students from Alaska or other North Park students that make them feel at home.”
Hamilton adds, “They have appreciated their North Park experience because it is within the Covenant family of colleges and there are similarities in our approaches to education.”
ACC identifies students who would be good candidates for North Park, which then works with the students to help them determine whether they want to attend. The school has flown the students in for orientation weekends, says Olson.
North Park is able to provide some financial aid and can help the students identify other possible sources of assistance, Olson says.
At least one student from ACC has attended North Park each year since 2004, says Hamilton.