This year 96 students from Eugene School District 4J are attending Lane tuition-free through the Advance Career Technical Sponsorship program, or ACTS.
LCC Pathways coordinates the ACTS program, which is currently in its third year.
Joe Coleman, administrative assistant for the 4J School District, said the program started with 24 students in its first year and excelled to 48 the second year. ACTS is currently striving to maintain enrollment at 96 students for future sponsorships.
Coleman said the program is very popular and strong within the 4J high schools.
“It is never difficult to find students,” Coleman said.
Bear Goodman, Lane academic adviser advises prospective high school students within the high school connections office. Goodman feels that the program has reached a level of maturity.
“We are seeing good success with these students,” Goodman said.
For students to be a part of the ACTS program, they must apply during their senior year of high school with a recommendation from a career technical instructor. If accepted, they are asked to attend a spring orientation and Gateway to College and Careers, an introductory class. After starting their first college year at Lane, their schedules must be approved and they must “check in” with ACTS throughout each term.
Although students are not required to maintain a specific GPA while attending college, Goodman said their academic performance must remain satisfactory and ACTS participants must take six to 12 credits per term towards their technical degree.
If the students are able to meet these requirements, the ACTS program pays up to 36 credits of tuition within their first college year, $500 for books and $50 for school supplies.
ACTS now chooses 24 students from each 4J high school. Of the students chosen, 80 percent complete their first year of college through ACTS and a high percentage of students continue their college career through other funding.
Connor Coleman (no relation) is a first-year culinary and hospitality major who graduated from Sheldon High School last June. He first heard about the ACTS program from his high school guidance counselor.
“She said it’s a really good program to get into, so I filled out an application and I got in,” Connor Coleman said.
Although he is technically a college student, Connor Coleman and other ACTS participants are considered seniors or fifth-year high school students while enrolled in the program. The students meet all the requirements for graduation and walk with their class. However, the students will not be able receive their diploma until after their completion, or dropout, of ACTS.
Eugene’s 4J schools still receive government funding for these students because they are still considered seniors. The funding is then used to pay for their tuition.
“More people should look into it because it’s a great program,” Connor Coleman said.
Joe Coleman said the program is now in the process of identifying students for sponsorship for the 2013-2014 school year.