UAF program eases college transition

Posted: Monday, September 01, 2008

FAIRBANKS - College can be a daunting place with its new buildings, people and schedules.

Sometimes, it's too daunting. Twenty-eight percent of University of Alaska freshmen don't return for their second year, according to a study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research.

In an effort to make the campus more personable and accessible for incoming students, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is developing and implementing programs to get more local teens on campus.

"We're trying to give students a taste of what college is all about and let them know UAF is a choice," UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers said.

Rogers said making contacts at a university will make it harder for students to drop out.

UAF, like many other schools in the nation, is specifically focusing on STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We are pressured by industries and the government to produce more graduates in those fields," Rogers said.

UAF isn't the only institution feeling pressure - the whole state is suffering enrollment problems. Alaskan students are less likely to go on to college than students in the Lower 48, according to Kids Count Alaska, a collection of data regarding children's health, safety and economic status.

The 2005 American Community Survey showed fewer than one in four 18 to 24-year-old Alaskans had enrolled in or completed college.

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