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Monday, December 22, 2014

Guest Editorial: Aims Here to Help During Volatile Time

By Marsi Liddell

The last quarter of 2008 created a volatile environment in politics, finances and business. Nonetheless it is imperative that you know, with confidence, that Aims Community College still offers stability during these shaky times. I want to highlight the recent successes and advances at your community college and to thank you for your enduring support.

Let’s talk first about the financial aspect. Aims continues to provide a high quality education at an incredibly affordable cost. In fact, for residents of our taxing district, Aims is the most affordable community college. Even for those students who are out of our district, our costs are competitive with the state system community colleges. Our business community recognizes the strong return on investment of Aims. They have stepped forward with their support by donating funds so needy high school graduates from most District 6 high schools can obtain a full, one-year scholarship at Aims. This year, 86 students benefitted through the CollegePromise program. The college also participates in a robust financial aid program, leveraging federal, state and institutional funds to help defray the individual cost of education.

Aims has anchored its commitment to quality education through facility development as well. The College understands that students want a safe, pleasant and educationally appropriate place to learn. Aims has dedicated resources to construct or renovate several buildings to offer the best in learning environments, along with the high-tech tools to give our students a technological advantage. To ensure that the campuses remain as safe and secure as possible, Aims has partnered with the Weld County Sheriff’s office to provide School Resource Officers on campus.

We believe strongly in the collaboration and success that stems from healthy partnerships. Together with the University of Northern Colorado, Aims is offering a concurrent enrollment program for freshman, allowing them to enroll simultaneously at both institutions. UNC and Aims, along with CSU and Front Range Community College have also made strides in a preliminary joint venture that will focus on collaborative efforts in economic and workforce development. Expanded partnerships with local school districts afford students the benefits of dual enrollment and exciting opportunities to train in highly skilled career fields. It is even possible for a student to graduate from high school and obtain an associate degree from Aims at the same time. What an enormous cost savings and an amazing educational opportunity.

Great opportunities abound for students to take advantage of quality academic programs at Aims. Our highly qualified professors and advisors can guide students through courses that are guaranteed to transfer to any other public institution in Colorado. If students want faster access to the workforce, the new Aims Career Academy can provide high school students a jump-start on their career and a seamless transition into post secondary education. Successful students in Aims Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs can expect to get well paying, quality jobs in the workforce. The College also has specialized programs for those individuals who may need some extra academic help to pursue an educational goal.

We are proud of our track record at Aims and proud to be a vital part of the community. Our enrollment for the past two years has been on the increase. Our commitment continues. Two new sites are scheduled for future facilities and expanded options for our students.

As we head into this holiday season and take time to celebrate and to reflect, I hope you accept this brief summary as a tribute to what we have been able to accomplish because of your ongoing support. We hope to be a bright spot of educational opportunities in our region during this difficult time and for years to come.

Marsi Liddell is the president of Aims Community College.


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