Recently, documents were released that showed the Kodiak Island Borough may cut its funding to Kodiak College in the upcoming school year.
For years, the Kodiak Island Borough has helped fund Kodiak College, the region’s University of Alaska campus. The college uses a lot of that money on a program called Jump Start, which lets high school students take college classes at a reduced rate.
Alan Fugleberg, the director of Kodiak College says Jump Start has let hundreds of high schoolers earn college credit before they graduate. Even though the borough needs to tighten its budget, Fugleberg thinks this program’s worth funding.
“I’d like to see folks consider it an investment in the community because it really is. It’s an investment in our students who live in our community. Who work in our community. Who are the essence of our community.”
Kodiak High School senior Hunter Blair is one of those students. He’s been taking classes at Kodiak College because of Jump Start since he was a sophomore. He’s currently on track to receive an associates degree and his high school diploma this spring.
Blair told the Borough Assembly at its last regular meeting why he thinks Jump Start is such a valuable opportunity for local students.
“It is a buffer towards the limiting factor of us all, money. The Jump Start program has provided me the reinsurance that my future educational goals will not financially hinder my wallet.”
Last year, the borough cut it’s funding to Kodiak College from around $80,000 to $60,000.This year it’s proposing to eliminate its funding altogether. That would come on the heels of the college also having to raise its tuition.
Blair says he’s planning to continue his education after he graduates from high school. He wants to be a history teacher and work in Kodiak, but without Jump Start, he doesn’t know if that’d be the case.
“I value the opportunity of higher education, but I value more the accessibility of a higher education. I would not be standing here speaking to you if it were not for the Jump Start program.”
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly didn’t discuss its funding of Kodiak college at its recent regular meeting. The assembly will finalize its budget for FY 2019 later this year.