- About UA, University of Alaska, Accessed June 2017, https://www.alaska.edu/alaska/about-ua/
- Online Programs and E-Learning, University of Alaska Southeast, Accessed June 2017, http://catalog.uas.alaska.edu/online-programs-e-learning/
- Financial Aid, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, Accessed June 2017, https://acpe.alaska.gov/FINANCIAL_AID
- Alaska's Largest University, University of Alaska Anchorage, Accessed June 2017, https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/
- College & Career Training in Alaska, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, Accessed June 2017, http://acpe.alaska.gov/Portals/0/OTHER/Pubs/CTCIAK_2015.pdf
- UAF Facts & Figures, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Accessed June 2017, http://uaf.edu/facts/
- Alaska Pacific University, Accessed June 2017, https://www.alaskapacific.edu/
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Alaska is the largest state in the nation and also the least densely populated. While it is known for its rugged wilderness, the state can also be a good place to earn a degree. Students may choose to attend college in one of the state's metropolitan areas, but the availability of online colleges in Alaska means many more students across the state are likely to have access to higher education. In addition to in-state schools offering online Alaska degrees, these include institutions based outside the state which enroll residents.
The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education notes there were 25 institutions of higher learning in the state during the 2014-15 school year. Most of these were satellite locations of the universities within the University of Alaska System. The system's three institutions each have a main campus as well as secondary campuses scattered across the state. The universities also have affiliated community colleges and technical schools. Students attending these colleges may be able to earn an associate degree and then transfer and apply those credits toward a bachelor's degree.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Alaska
For those who want to earn an on-campus or online bachelor's degree in Alaska, there are four main choices. Using a methodology that looks at tuition and program availability among other factors, here's how those institutions stack up against each other.
Located in the interior of the state, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public research institution that tops the rankings for a variety of metrics. It has the best average net price for low-income students and offers the most institutional grant aid as a percentage of its tuition and fees. It also ranks first for the number of distance education programs offered making is one of the best online colleges for Alaska.
Tracing its roots to 1917, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is celebrating a century of higher education. Between its flagship campus in Fairbanks and six additional campuses elsewhere in the state, the university enrolled more than 8,500 students in 2015.
UAF is part of the University of Alaska System and offers almost all the state's most popular degree programs. These include biology, general studies and business administration.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is the largest institution of higher learning in the state. It enrolled more than 16,500 students across four campuses in 2015. With more than 100 degree and certificate programs, UAA is second only to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the number of academic programs offered.
With a main campus in the heart of the state's largest city, the UAA is an affordable education choice. It ranks first for the cost of its tuition and fees. It is also first for its average net price. Those low costs may help contribute to its graduates having the best three-year debt repayment rate in the state.
UAA is also a part of the University of Alaska System. While the student population is primarily from Alaska, it does attract people from diverse backgrounds. The student to faculty ratio is 11:1, helping ensure those enrolled receive a personalized experience.
The final school within the University of Alaska System is also the third best institution in the state. The University of Alaska Southeast has its main campus in the state's capital of Juneau. There are also campuses in Ketchikan and Sitka and online degree programs are offered as well.
UAS ranks first for the number of students enrolled in distance education with 65 percent of its student population taking online classes in 2015. For those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in Alaska, the school has options in education, social science, liberal arts and business administration. There are also undergraduate and graduate certificates, associate and master's degree programs available online.
The University of Alaska Southeast does a good job of helping students minimize debt. The school ranks first for the low median debt carried by graduates. To encourage out-of-state residents to apply, UAS offers in-state tuition to students who are descendants of Alaska residents.
Alaska Pacific University says it's the state's only private, nonprofit, fully accredited university. Although it ranks fourth behind the schools of the University of Alaska System, APU is far from a second-rate educational choice. Indeed, APU has the best graduation rate in the state. It also offers a flexible learning environment in which night and weekend classes are available and adult learners may be able to gain credit for life experience.
Founded in 1960 as the Alaska Methodist University, the school changed its name to Alaska Pacific University in 1978. However, it remains affiliated with the Methodist church. At its campus in Anchorage, students will find plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, dining options that are locally sourced and a comprehensive sports center.
Through The APU Promise Program, Pell Grant-eligible students can attend the university at little or no cost.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Alaska
Students who haven't selected a major yet may want to consider of one these degree programs that are popular with Alaskan students.
In-Demand Careers in Alaska
Career growth is an important factor when selecting a degree. See if your planned education will prepare you for jobs with high projected growth rates and job openings in Alaska.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic||21.4%||80||$35,850|
|Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse||20.2%||-||-|
|Obstetricians and Gynecologists||18.2%||70||$261,680|
|Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials||17.7%||220||$38,880|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||17.5%||90||$42,030|
|Healthcare Support Workers, All Other||17.5%||430||$44,980|
|Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other||17.4%||220||$76,630|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||17.3%||620||$47,350|
|Personal Care Aides||17%||4,890||$31,910|
|Physicians and Surgeons, All Other||16.5%||500||$256,630|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||16.2%||-||-|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other||16.1%||140||$65,560|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||16.1%||-||$61,150|
|Nonfarm Animal Caretakers||16.1%||310||$28,300|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians||15.9%||-||-|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Alaska
The State of Alaska has several programs to help its residents pay for degree programs. The Alaska Education Grant goes to students who demonstrate financial need. Meanwhile, the Alaska Performance Scholarship is given to those who excel academically. There are also Alaska education loan programs which provide funds to supplement federal student loans.
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
Renewable for up to four years.
- University of Alaska System
- Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
- Alaska Career Information System
To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
- Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
- Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Dual credit
- Credit for life experience
- Advanced Placement credit
- Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
- Remedial services
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Guaranteed tuition plan
- Tuition payment plan
- Any other alternative tuition plan