Students in community colleges face many challenges in pursuing a degree or credential. Students are parents, caregivers, work and simply juggling ones work/life balance can be a daunting task in itself.
Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) is a leader in online education across the region, offering more than 200 classes taught by local faculty and hundreds of other courses provided by schools within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).
For Timothy Collins, of Salyersville, taking classes online has allowed him the flexibility to be with his children and family, and help care for his mother who is battling cancer.
Taking classes online does require a lot of self-motivation, he said. Collins returned to school this year after losing his job at a mine manufacturer after working there for 24 years and is taking all but one class online this semester. The flexibility is great, as I can log in and do the work when it is convenient for me.
Jimmy Wright, dean of student affairs at BSCTC, said that many programs can be completed entirely online.
The online environment allows students to take advantage of the same benefits as students on our campus, said Wright, referring to the states lowest tuition and transfer agreements with all state four-year universities. It also allows us to eliminate many barriers students face in wanting to attend or return to college.
Wright said taking online courses with BSCTC faculty allows students to take advantage of the flexibility of online courses with the convenience of access to local faculty.
Students still face challenges when taking online courses, and sometimes the answer is more than an email away, he said. By taking an online class with our faculty, you will have access to faculty online and have access to meet with them in person during their office hours.
BSCTC, which offers 27 programs and more than 200 credentials, is enrolling students for the Spring semester. Classes start on January 12, and financial aid is available to students who qualify.
Students can apply for admissions online at www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu or at admissions offices located conveniently on the Prestonsburg, Pikeville and Mayo campuses.
Since 2008, more than 21,000 first-generation college students have enrolled in classes at BSCTC. During that same time, the college has increased the numbers of credentials awarded by 140 percent and degrees conferred by 64 percent.
For more information on admissions or financial aid, please call 1-855-GO-BSCTC or visit www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu.
Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov as early in January as possible to increase their chances of receiving the maximum amount of funds available. Unlike Federal aid, State awards are made until funds are depleted for the academic year.
Scholarships in excess of $350,000 are awarded annually through both Big Sandy Community and Technical College and the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc. For more information, contact Leslie Bays, chair of the scholarship committee, at (606) 886-7391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to Work
Ready to Work is a partnership between BSCTC and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The program provides assistance to low-income parents who qualify for the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP). The program includes providing work-study opportunities for students. The income generated from this does not affect KTAP benefits. For more information, contact Cassandra Crum-Stratton at (606) 889-4723 or email email@example.com or Terry Burchett at (606) 218-1214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work and Learn
Work and Learn provides assistance to low-income parents who qualify for the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP). The program is for students who are working towards their GED or who already have a high school diploma or GED and need to strengthen some basic skills before entering college. The program includes providing work-study opportunities for students. The income generated from this does not affect KTAP benefits. For more information, contact Cassandra Crum-Stratton at (606) 889-4723 or email email@example.com or Terry Burchett at (606) 218-1214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky
Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky (AOKY) is a partnership between Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Kentucky Adult Education and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet. The program provides a comprehensive fast-track for students to retrain, retool and go to work. Featuring five tracks (welding, computer information technology, electricity, industrial maintenance and allied health), the program aims to provide a quick pathway to a credential in a high-wage, high-demand field and encourage the pursuit of a degree. For more information, contact Christina Lowe at (606) 788-6020 or email email@example.com.
Service Member/Veteran Benefits
Service members and veterans are eligible for an array of benefits while participating in approved education or training programs. There are also benefits for certain dependents. To determine eligibility, access the Department of Veteran Affairs website at www.vba.va.gov. Once benefits have been approved, you will receive a certificate of eligibility and then you will need to make an appointment with a counselor at BSCTC. For more information, contact Jeffrey Hicks at (606) 889-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Elizabeth Cole at (606) 218-1215 or Lillian OBryan at (606) 788-2819 or email@example.com.
Other Financial Resources
There are several third-party financial resources available for students. These include Vocational Rehabilitation (http://www.ovr.ky.gov/), Big Sandy Community Action and WIA (http://bsacap.org/) and AmeriCorps (http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/AmeriCorps).