Best Colleges in Alaska

Alaska College Guide – What You Need to Know

Alaska is a huge landmass, but it has one of the smallest populations in the United States. It's no surprise then that they have so few colleges. There is the rather small University of Alaska system that maintains three campuses, and then Alaska Pacific University, which is a small private institution. If you wish to expand your educational horizons, you can take advantage of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which provides out-of-state tuition to students from member states at a reduced price. Through WUE, you can attend college in California, any state on the western seaboard, and twelve other states. You can even study in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Alaska?

Alaskans are seeking the same thing that students in other states desire: satisfying, stable careers. Their academic opportunities reflect the needs and desires of both incoming students and the state in general. For instance, you can find an associate degree in Outdoor Leadership at Prince William Sound College or you could get a degree in Alaska Native Studies from Kenai Peninsula College. Both degrees can be springboards to brilliant Alaskan careers. That said, some of the most popular bachelor's degrees in Alaska are not unlike what you might find in the Lower 48 or elsewhere. Here's a brief list:

Some of the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Alaska include:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in Alaska


NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best 2 Year Associate Degree Colleges in Alaska


In Alaska, you’re at a relatively large distance from the contiguous US states, which can limit your options of colleges and universities unless you’re willing to move. Here you can explore the various colleges to find the best associate programs in-state. This way, you can give yourself a solid foundation before deciding on an in-state degree program or if you really need to head farther afield for your advanced degree.

Alaska Career College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
361
Graduation Rate
75%
Net Price
$15,222
Ilisagvik College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
233
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$12,811
Alaska Christian College
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
95
Graduation Rate
19%
Net Price
$5,482

Best 4 Year Bachelor's Degree Colleges in Alaska


Fairbanks, Anchorage, and other cities in Alaska host four-year universities. Here you can look to find which universities and colleges possess the best bachelor’s programs in-state, where you’ll be able to earn the degree foundation for the career you want. Alaska colleges that receive high rankings serve their students by staying true to the state’s character. Each university stresses community service, preservation of Native Alaskan cultures and activism.

Alaska Pacific University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
529
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$20,426
Alaska Bible College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
40
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$18,816
University of Alaska Fairbanks
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
7,179
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$9,643
Ilisagvik College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
233
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$12,811
University of Alaska Anchorage
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
12,766
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$12,564
University of Alaska Southeast
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,150
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$11,000

Best Advanced and Master's Degree Colleges in Alaska


High-quality graduate degree programs prepare today’s students for future leadership. By earning that degree in-state, you may find that you’ll be able to network more easily within the communities you plan to serve once you graduate. Check out the list to find the best graduate degree programs in Alaska.

Alaska Pacific University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
192
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$20,426
University of Alaska Fairbanks
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
973
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$9,643
University of Alaska Anchorage
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
663
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$12,564
University of Alaska Southeast
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
264
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$11,000

Best Online Degree Colleges in Alaska (Distance Learning Only)


Alaska is the largest state in the union, and it has vast areas of unoccupied space. This means that, if you have chosen a school that’s located on the opposite coast, you may not be able to get there—especially during the cold, snowy months. However, you, along with students from other states, have options for distance learning in the state. From home you can attend classes, be involved in forum discussions, and take your exams.

Colorado Technical University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
27,232
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$16,260
Purdue
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
38,138
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
NA
Southern New Hampshire University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
113,514
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$39,743
Western Governors University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
136,139
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$7,785
Capella University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
37,859
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$17,368
Walden University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
48,420
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
NA

Cost of Alaska College Education & Salaries


Before you embark on a college education, you want to make sure that the money you are spending will be worthwhile. This is all the more important when you will probably have to repay this money with interest starting about six months after graduation. The statistics would indicate that education expenditures are indeed worthwhile. That is, the more you spend on education, the higher your salary rises, and the likelihood of job satisfaction also increases.

In fact, some professions are absolutely unapproachable if you don't have an education. Health Science careers, for instance, are almost entirely dependent on your educational level. You'll also need to pass state board exams and otherwise qualify for licensure, but you can't begin to think about that without meeting some minimum academic standards, often a master's degree.

You can mitigate some of your costs, however, by attending community colleges for your core curriculum and applying for scholarships. Since many of the Western States have sparse populations and thus few colleges, they have an agreement where you can attend an out-of-state institution for a reduced rate. Schools that fall under the Western Undergraduate Exchange can only charge a maximum 150% of in-state tuition to Alaskan students. By comparison, if you attend a public university outside of those states, you could pay 200% or more of their standard in-state tuition.

College Cost Analysis - Alaska vs National


Average Alaska Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $12,970

National – $14,262

Out-of-State – $15,246

National – $18,451

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

Alaskan students receive federal student aid at higher rates than the national average. However, each individual student doesn’t tend to receive quite as large a boost from their financial aid as the seen around the rest of the nation. This means that, while you might be able to get approved for financial aid, you need to be proactive in looking for scholarships and other aid right from the start.

Financial Aid Arizona Nationally
Received Federal Grants 47% 37.7%
Average $ per Recipient $9,538 $10,927

Best Scholarships for Alaska


To help defray the cost of college, seek out a scholarship that can ease the strain on your finances. If you have good grades, good character, and some interesting public service, or other extra-curricular activities, it's worth it to apply to as many as you can. For one thing, many people won't take the initiative to seek scholarship money. Then, even if you win a small sum, you can add the award to your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers will be impressed, and they don't need to know that the scholarship barely covered the cost of books for a semester. Here is a brief list of scholarships to help you earn an Alaskan degree:

  • UAKFS
  • APCS
  • RPMS
  • RHS
  • KFMJS
  • EM
UAKFS-logo

UAKFS

UAA Alaska Kidney Foundation Scholarship

https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/1291
If you are attending University of Alaska Anchorage with the intention of becoming a nurse, you should consider applying for this scholarship. The Kidney Foundation seeks to support budding nurses in hopes that they will provide safe and effective kidney treatments to patients suffering from kidney disease. You will need to have been an Alaska resident for three years prior to applying and be fully enrolled in a nursing degree program that will result in an RN license.

APCS-logo

APCS

Alaska Press Club Scholarships

https://alaska.academicworks.com/donors/alaska-press-club-scholarship
Budding journalists who are attending a University of Alaska school should apply for this scholarship. Not only will it help defray tuition or other costs from your education bill, but when future editors see this award, they are sure to be pleased. Even editors in other states may recognize the name and bring you in to interview. To apply, all you need is to demonstrate merit, need, and some outstanding achievement in a specialized field.

RPMS

Roy Pedersen Memorial Scholarship

https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/6072
This scholarship awards up to $2,000 to a student who has a minimum 2.0 GPA and who is ideally a graduate of an Alaska high school. This is a sports scholarship, however, and you must demonstrate skill in cross-country skiing as well as a desire to be an intercollegiate competitor for UAA.

RHS

Roger Hickel Scholarship

https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/7754
Construction Management students are eligible to win this $1,000 award. You must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and be attending UAA.

KFMJS

Kay Fanning Memorial Journalism Scholarship

https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/7614
If you endeavor to the noble calling of journalism, this scholarship can offset a minimum sum of $5,000 per year for 4 successive years. You can maintain the scholarship for the duration of your college career, provided that you maintain a 2.0 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and remain in the school of journalism and communication. The award does not have a limit on the number of recipients, so they will receive many applications.

EM

Excellence in Music

https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/6841
Incoming first-year students to University of Alaska Anchorage who are enrolled in a Bachelor of Music, Performance, or Education program can apply for this $500 scholarship. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate musical ability, motivation, as well as leadership potential. This demanding scholarship will be a tremendous feather in any student's cap long after graduation.

There are many, many more scholarships available through the University of Alaska Anchorage and other Alaskan schools and professional organizations. There is likely one that suits your particular academic interests, financial needs, and leadership goals.