The Kenai Peninsula Foundation is proud to highlight one our 2021 Grantees, The Alaska Christian College. The Kenai Peninsula Community has gained greatly from their commitment to all of their students, near and far! Please take the time to read about ACC and their wonderful work!
It was the vision of many Alaska Natives and ministry leaders to plant a one-year discipleship college primarily for Alaska Natives. In 1999, the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska began a pilot project called “Alaska Leadership College.” Five students traveled with instructors throughout Western Alaska, taking classes in various villages, serving, and learning about discipleship. This pilot program became the foundation for the mission of Alaska Christian College, “To prepare young people for whole-life discipleship,” and for the core values of Alaska Christian College: Learning, Building, and Serving.
In 2000, Alaska Christian College was incorporated. A call was made to Reverend Keith Hamilton to begin the project. In April of 2001 the campus was purchased: 10.5 acres and an 8,400 square foot home would become administrative offices, student life facilities, classrooms, and student housing. A miracle selling price of $350,000 was provided for and purchase took place on April 14, 2001.
On September 16, 2001, Alaska Christian College began with 22 students and 16 staff members, missionary and volunteer. The campus grew steadily to include three cabins, a duplex, a triplex, a quadplex, a counseling center, prayer chapel, two residence halls, dining facility/conference center, a six classroom building, multi-purpose yurt, an administration building, a home, and a learning resource center.
In 2002-03, Alaska Christian College expanded its curriculum to include a second year of study. This program was developed directly in response to students’ needs for safe community and continued educational opportunities. ACC began to expand its program to include general education. The goal was to encourage a more effective transition for rural students to higher education. This was a primary goal for ACC’s two-year Certificate of Biblical and General Studies while retaining a one year Certificate of Biblical Studies.
Alaska Christian College has continued to expand its ministry through critical partnerships in the local community. Kenai Peninsula College, located only a quarter mile from ACC, provided general education opportunities to students as part of their 2nd Year Certificate from Alaska Christian College. ACC also began a formal ministry partnership with New Hope Counseling Center, a separate 501(c)3 organization, located on the campus of ACC. This ministry is an integral part of life-changing education and students, staff, and community members have supportive access year round to this ministry planted by ACC.
In 2007, ACC was awarded candidate status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education and received initial accredited status in 2012. Due to the 2007 candidate status designation, the first Title IV funds were received the following year for student room, board, and tuition, a first in our history.
In 2010, ACC received a Title III grant that added academic space and programs needed to fulfill the vision to award its first Associate of Arts degree. This grant funded a new learning resource center, new classrooms, and staff to support this goal enabling the first degree offering of the college. Two Associate Degrees in Para-professional education and Christian ministry saw its first graduates in 2014.
Alaska Christian College recruits a diverse student body. Our original focus on recruiting indigenous populations of Alaska persists. Approximately 90% of all students come from rural Alaska and are Alaska Native (Inupiaq, Yup’ik, Cup’ik primarily). In addition, a number of students have come annually from Native American tribes in the Lower 48 states.
A new mission and vision statement were adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2010. The current mission of Alaska Christian College is to “empower Alaska Natives through biblically-based higher education and Christian formation to pursue excellence in character, learning, and service as followers of Christ.” Its vision is “to be the premier college of choice for Alaska Native students so that our graduates follow and serve Christ within the Church and larger society.”
By 2020, ACC has accumulated 28.5 acres and 17 buildings. An 18th structure to include a high school sized gymnasium will be completed by 2023. Approximately 55 individuals including full time, part time, and volunteers make up the staff. Nearly all full time employees raise support as missionaries. The general budget has grown to $2.8M dollars with approximately 2/3rds of the budget coming from donation funding. An annual designated fund provides another approximate $300,000 per year in giving. ACC’s total long term debt is $450,000 with over $1M in reserve and quasi-endowed funds.
ACC offers four Associate in Arts degrees in Christian Ministry, Para-professional Education, Behavioral Health, and General Studies.
Alaska Christian College continues to be a place where the Word of God is communicated, students are educated according to their cultural setting, healing and restoration takes places, and students find hope in returning to serve in their villages and communities from where they came. Our graduates are reaching back into their home villages to serve Christ and others.
ACC does not discriminate regarding admission to the college based on a student’s faith experience as it is an open enrollment campus. All who meet the educational qualifications are accepted and will be offered life-changing education through ACC’s programs.