The genesis of the Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) dates back to the late 1930s with the founding of Ashland Junior College. In 1964, the junior college was renamed Ashland Community College and brought under the jurisdiction of the University of Kentucky Community College System. Legislators in Frankfort mandated creation of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in 1998, absorbing the schools that had been part of the University of Kentucky system for decades. Ashland Community College merged with Ashland Technical College in 2003 to form the current institution, a local college offering both vocational training programs and a stepping stone to further education.
The college operates on a semester calendar system, with one full and two short summer sessions. It has been continually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Articulation agreements with nearby institutions like Marshall University, Shawnee State University and the University of Kentucky ensure that students with the baccalaureate as their goal can seamlessly transfer to a four-year school.
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Ashland Area Innovation Center
Both start-ups and existing businesses often need help getting up to speed with the newest technology standards. The Ashland Area Innovation Center (AAIC) states that its mission is to give business owners access to the tools and resources to grow their enterprises into the future. Consultants from campus work with local businesses to enhance their infrastructure and explore new markets.
The Entrepreneur Center assists local residents in getting their fledgling businesses off the ground. The center provides low-rent, furnished office space, T1 Internet access and a small conference room. Employees at the center can provide managerial assistance and training, if desired.
Admissions are non-competitive. The college accepts all applicants who have earned a high-school diploma or GED. Some students are admitted through in-state tuition deals with nearby West Virginia and Ohio, but the overwhelming majority of students are native to Kentucky. The college recommends that high-school students take at least 4 years of English, 3 of math and 2 of both science and social studies. This particular course breakdown ensures that students leave high-school fully prepared to succeed at the collegiate level.
The first step in gaining admission is filling out an application either on paper or online. Next, every applicant must submit official high-school transcripts or GED scores. Assessment testing is required to help officials determine an applicant’s proficiency with English, reading and math. Prospective students can take the ACT or SAT exam, but may be asked to also take the ASSET or COMPASS test if scores on the former exams fall below a certain number. No one will be denied general admissions because of test scores.
Applicants with previous college experience should forward official college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. All students who have earned at least a 2.0 GPA on prior work will be admitted. It is at the sole discretion of the Registrar’s Office how to apply credits earned at another school.
Second Chance Students previously attended a college outside of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and earned a GPA of less than 2.0. These students may be admitted on probational status, provided certain conditions are met.
After prospective students have submitted their application and required documents, the next hurdle is to apply for financial aid. Even community colleges are too expensive for most students to pay for out-of-pocket, therefore numerous assistance programs are in place. Students begin the process by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The information provided on the FAFSA will be used to produce a Student Aid Report, which the Office of Financial Aid will consult as they generate a package for each student with demonstrated need. The majority of students receive financial aid of some form. The main categories of financial aid are grants, scholarships and loans.
The federal government is the largest provider of grant funds to undergraduate students. Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students with demonstrated financial need. The exact award amount is determined by hours enrolled and financial information contained in the Student Aid Report. For students with the greatest level of need, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) can augment the total award. Funds for the SEOG are not limited, so completing the FAFSA early is paramount.
Students whose parent or guardian was a member of the armed forces and passed away as a result of action in Iraq or Afghanistan may be eligible for a special Service Grant. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant recipients must be ineligible for Pell Grant funds.
The College Access Program (CAP) Grant is awarded to Kentucky residents and carries the same eligibility standard as the Federal Pell Grant. CAP funding is limited, so students should complete their FAFSA as early as possible.
Scholarships, like grant awards, do not have to be repaid after students leave school. Some scholarships are only for students in specific programs, while others are more general. Most scholarships have an academic achievement component to the award. The Office of Financial Aid can assist students in applying for the scholarship programs most likely to award them funding.
Unlike scholarships and grant programs, loans must be repaid after a student graduates or leaves school. The federal government is the largest education lender and offers competitive interest rates and generous repayment plans. The relative affordability of an education makes loans an option of last resort.
The college serves approximately 2,500 students taking for-credit classes each year. The actual number of students is significantly higher when one includes workforce development programs and non-degree students. As a commuter campus, the college does not offer dormitories or any other form of campus housing. Younger students tend to live at home or with friends during their studies. Rents in the areas served are generally low.
The student body puts on art show on the first Friday in April. All artistically talented students are encouraged to participate. Painting, drawings, sculpture and installations are all part of the exhibition.
Library services are available at two locations: the Technology Drive campus and the College Drive campus. Both locations have physical holdings, journals, electronic collections and Kindle e-readers for checkout. Books in mp3 format are also available for download from netLibrary.
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Ashland is part of the tri-state region of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The confluence of the Big Sandy and Ohio Rivers lies north of downtown. The community offers numerous cultural and artistic attractions while not letting go of its small-town charm. The Paramount Arts Center near the riverfront hosts nationally known recording artists. The Highlands Museum provides an educational look at mountain life as it was lived in the distant past. Antique tools and implements are some of the cultural artifacts making up the museum’s collection. For outdoor recreation, both Grayson Lake and Yatesville Lake are just outside of town and offer fishing, boating and golf.
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