University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus. (KRBD file photo)

University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus. (KRBD file photo)

The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus is expanding its eLearning program to better serve students in Metlakatla, Craig and other Alaska Native and rural communities.

That expansion will be paid for through a $2.2-million dollar Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which will primarily benefit the arts and science degree programs.

UAS Sociology professor Bill Urquhart will administer the funds. He said those programs are popular with Native and rural students, who often want degrees that will allow them to give back to their own communities.

“It’s kind of amazing when you think that you could be living in Klawock for example or Hydaburg and never have to leave your home community, graduate from high school , go all the way through college, earn a master’s degree and get a job as a teacher right there in your same home community.”

The money will be used to hire a teacher and counselors who will travel nine times a year to meet and recruit students throughout Southeast. The grant also will fund equipment purchases.

“We’re still looking at working out the details of what specific kinds of educational technology. It could be maybe a surface touchpad, some other type of touch pad or notebook pad, laptop computers.  But the idea is we want to be able to insure especially students that are in remote village areas and small towns throughout Southeast have access to everything they need, including the technological equipment that’s needed to be able to get their education.”

UAS’s previous Title III grant expired at the beginning of October. The recently awarded grant funds will last for five years.