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Online Colleges in Alaska

Updated on: 01/25/2019
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High school students in Alaska graduate at a rate of 92%, which puts the state in the top five for graduation rates; 67% of these learners enroll in postsecondary schools. These numbers bode well for college graduates who wish to enter the Alaskan workforce, in which 66% of jobs require some higher education. Recent high school graduates, nontraditional learners, students from other states, and Native Alaskans thrive in Alaska’s online schools. In this guide, prospective applicants can learn about the benefits of enrolling in online schools in Alaska, the schools with the most affordable tuition, and the resources needed to enroll.

Alaska’s Top Affordable Online Colleges

Online schools in Alaska charge various tuition rates based on factors such as residency, course load, and curriculum. This website considered the various tuition rates and fees to determine which online colleges in Alaska are most affordable. The rankings also consider the academic rigor of each institution. Learners who want to get the best value with their education should study this ranking.

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number University Score Cost Graduation Rate Location University Information
1 University of Alaska Fairbanks 100.00 $$$$$ 37% Fairbanks, AK

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is located in beautiful Fairbanks, Alaska. Founded in 1917, the school's faculty population is about 560. Its student population is approximately 2,500, which includes part-time and full-time students. Class sizes are smaller than what is found at many other schools. Generally, the faculty to student ratio is about 1-to-11. Popular majors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are biological sciences, mechanical engineering, computer science, business administration and general studies. The best online college in Alaska grants short courses that lead to occupational endorsements and certificates. Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees are awarded online in homeland security, psychology, applied business and education. Blackboard is one of the first portals that students log into when they start studying or submitting class materials.

2 Alaska Pacific University 99.69 $$$$$ 40% Anchorage, AK

Alaska Pacific University , located in a forest along Anchorage’s system of trails, is a private liberal arts university founded in 1957. Students can choose among a dazzling range of academic disciplines leading to certificates as well as bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Popular online program offerings include classes in business administration, Alaska Native history and culture, statistics, psychology, religious studies and English. Online courses are delivered via the Blackboard class management system. All of APU’s programs integrate five key competencies that build student's critical skills and the knowledge base necessary to succeed in their careers. Students may qualify for scholarships offered by Alaska industries including finance, fisheries, education and outdoor recreation.

3 University of Alaska Southeast 98.57 $$$$$ 12% Juneau, AK

The University of Alaska Southeast's Juneau campus is located along the Tongass National Forest near the Juneau Icefield in the heart of Alaska's Inside Passage. UAS's two other campuses are located on neighboring islands, Sitka and Ketchikan. UAS's online degree programs connect students with courses, educators and research opportunities that would be otherwise out of reach. Remote courses are comprised of web or video and audio conferencing and lead to occupational endorsements, certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's and master's degrees, and graduate certificates. Online students are supported by toll-free admissions counseling, faculty advising, tutoring and digital library services. Some programs may include internships or practicum sessions held on campus or at other physical locations.

4 University of Alaska Anchorage 96.87 $$$$$ 28% Anchorage, AK

With more than 100 degree and certificate programs, the University of Alaska Anchorage Is the largest of the three members of the University of Alaska system, graduating more than 2,000 students last year. Students near and far can complete certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and occupational endorsements entirely online or through blended formats that include campus visits. Online undergraduate and graduate programs are offered through the Community and Technical College, College of Health, College of Engineering, College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business. Whether they take classes on campus or online, all students receive a UAOnline account to register for classes, pay bills, check on financial aid or view their grades. Still not sure if UAA is the right school? Take advantage of their online Virtual Viewbook, which gives prospective students a personalized and inside look at UAA.

Why Choose Alaska for Online Higher Education?

The invention and expansion of online colleges in Alaska provide students with flexible access to education, allowing them to balance school with work and family obligations. Online students may be drawn to healthcare programs, in particular, as healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the state’s economy.

  • Number of Programs Offered Completely Online in Alaska 12

  • Undergraduate Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in Alaska 5,396

  • Graduate Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in Alaska1,096

  • Total International Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in Alaska 25

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost of Attending an Online College in Alaska

On average, Alaskan residents pay $6,880 in tuition at public universities, while their out-of-state classmates pay $20,463 annually. Online programs in Alaska grant in-state status to learners who have lived in the Last Frontier for the previous two years.

Alaska is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange. Through this program, students from Alaska can pay in-state tuition at approved programs from participating states. Participating states include Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These jurisdictions have similar agreements for professional and graduate degrees.

In-State Tuition:
$6,880 – public, four-year institution
$3,340 – public, two-year institution
Out-of-State Tuition:
$20,463 – public, four-year institution
$3,340 – public, two-year institution

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017

Alaska’s in-state tuition is lower than the national average at $8,778 per year. Regarding online learning, some institutions charge students the same rates regardless of residency, while others discount tuition for distance education. Prospective students should visit a school’s website or contact the financial aid department for current information.

Considering an Alaska School as an Out-of-State Student

There are 547 students from other states attending fully online programs in Alaska. Some of these students must pay elevated tuition rates for their degrees, while others attend through reciprocity programs. For example, 10 of the current out-of-state graduate students come from states that participate in the Western Regional Graduate Program and pay in-state tuition rates.

Out-of-State Undergraduate Students Studying Exclusively Online in Alaska 436

Out-of-State Graduate Students Studying Exclusively Online in Alaska 111

Tuition Discounts:

Alaska is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). States in this commission participate in pacts that allow learners to get tuition discounts at public schools that participate in the WICHE. Alaska participates in many of these initiatives, including programs for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The state also offers unique programs to students from WICHE states, especially regarding counseling. Psychology students at online colleges in Alaska pay discounted tuition and can complete internships in any WICHE state.

State Authorizations for Online Learning:

Four Alaskan institutions comply with the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA): Alaska Pacific University, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Southeast. With this agreement, learners in other SARA states can take courses from the approved Alaska schools without further approval. As of November 2018, all states and territories agree to SARA except California and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Students from these nonparticipating regions can apply through other WICHE programs.

Check with an admissions or financial officer.

Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program.

One-Stop College Research Resources for Alaska’s Online Schools

Students who want to learn more about online colleges in Alaska should read the following answers to frequently asked questions about online learning in the state.

Do Online Credits Cost More or Less in Alaska?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that online universities in Alaska feature below-average tuition rates. For example, full-time, in-state students at four-year universities pay $7,210 per year on average, while the national average is $8,804. Private universities in Alaska also typically feature below-average tuition rates. However, Alaskan two-year schools charge slightly above-average rates.

Learners outside of Alaska who do not go through WICHE programs sometimes pay more for each credit than their Alaskan counterparts; however, this varies by school. For example, UAF charges the same tuition rates for online credits regardless of residency. KPC waives the out-of-state tuition increase for students who move to Alaska for in-person classes, but charges distance education learners higher prices than on-campus students. Another flagship school, the University of Alaska Southeast, charges online learners half of its standard in-state tuition rates.

Students should check with institutions to determine how much online degrees in Alaska cost. Program type, education mode, and enrollment status can affect what learners pay.

Which Alaska Schools Accept the Most Transfer Credits?

Each of Alaska’s public, four-year universities feature generous transfer policies. Because the state does not have a community college system, many of the two-year colleges adhere to similar policies as four-year colleges. Learners can access information about transfer policies on the University of Alaska System website.

Universities and colleges in the University of Alaska System typically do not publish maximum numbers of transfer credits for undergraduates. However, these schools require at least 30 credits before they consider learners transfer students. Public universities waive general education requirements for transfer students with an associate or other undergraduate degree from an accredited school. Public institutions also accept transfer credits from testing, such as from advanced placement exams. Generally, credits from schools with regional accreditation are accepted.

APU, a private university, posts no minimum or maximum regarding credit transfers. Instead, they evaluate each applicant individually. APU also has an Adult Undergraduate completion program for nontraditional learners who need to finish degrees, which is ideal for candidates who need just a few classes to graduate.

Will Any Online Colleges in Alaska Accept a GED?

All online universities in Alaska accept applicants with GEDs, provided the candidate meets other requirements. For example, UAA requires candidates to have either a high school diploma or GED to apply for certificate and associate programs. The other public university, UAS, accepts associate applicants with high school diplomas or GEDs and at least a 2.0 GPA.

The two private universities, ABC and APU, also accept GED applicants. Candidates for ABC and APU must submit proof of a high school diploma or GED, and SAT or ACT scores when applicable. All two-year colleges accept GED candidates as well.

How Many Academic Terms per Year Do Online Colleges in Alaska Offer?

All online colleges in Alaska follow traditional semester schedules with fall, spring, and summer enrollment terms. In some cases, schools only allow international and transfer students to register for the fall or spring semester for their first term. The state’s four-year universities have specific application deadlines, as do some of the two-year colleges. However, some community colleges accept applications year round.

Which Online Colleges in Alaska Accept the FAFSA?

Every college and university in Alaska accepts the FAFSA. Students should fill out the FAFSA regardless of their chosen institution. The FAFSA determines a student’s federal financial aid eligibility. Many scholarship and grant programs also require applicants to submit the FAFSA. Learners can find more information on the FAFSA on the Federal Student Aid website.

Are There Any Free Online Classes I Can Take From Alaska Colleges?

Iḷisaġvik College aims to increase higher education attainment among the native Alaskan population, offering tuition waivers for certain students. Students eligible for tuition waivers include North Slope residents, nonslope tribe members, North Slope Borough School District employees, firefighters, EMS professionals, and senior residents.

The University of Alaska System waives tuition for senior citizens who are 67 and older. Seniors who want to take advantage of this plan fill out this form. UAS also discounts tuition for learners in occupational endorsement programs.

Students who were in Alaska’s foster care system at any time earn tuition waivers as well. As long as these learners attend accredited schools, maintain good standing, and earn 2.0 GPAs, they can attend college without paying tuition from the ages of 16-21.

How Can I Find the Online Program Options at Alaska’s Colleges?

Prospective students can find information about online programs in Alaska through the ACPE website. Learners can use the ACPE’s Alaska Career Information System to explore programs from state schools and contact career advisers for free.

Most of the higher learning institutions in Alaska are part of the University of Alaska System. The system’s website contains helpful resources for online and in-person students. Degree candidates can learn about the main campuses, online offerings, tuition rates, and financial aid opportunities.

Learners can also explore the system’s career toolkit to find the best programs for their goals. Candidates can take career quizzes, search programs, discover job prospects, and take advantage of the site’s free resume builder. The career site also helps veterans find programs to help them adjust to civilian life.

Alaska Scholarships and Grants

Once learners submit the FAFSA, they discover their federal financial aid eligibility. In addition to federal aid, students can apply for private grants and scholarships to make their education more affordable, such as the five scholarships listed below.

  1. Alaska Education Grant

    This need-based program welcomes Alaskan residents with high school diplomas or GEDs to apply. Candidates must boast admission to an accredited undergraduate or vocational certificate program in the Last Frontier. They must also enroll at least half time, work toward their first bachelor’s degree, and maintain good academic standing.

    Scholarship Amount: $500-$4,000 per year

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  2. Pride Foundation Scholarship

    Students in the Northwest region of the United States, including Alaska, can apply for scholarships through the Pride Foundation. Successful applicants must demonstrate leadership within the LGBTQ community, little support in their personal lives, and financial need. Awardees can use the funds at any postsecondary institution, including vocational schools.

    Scholarship Amount: Varies

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  3. JJ Klein Scholarship

    The Alaska Community Foundation awards this scholarship to learners who graduate from Alaskan high schools, enroll full time in accredited institutions, show financial need, and earn GPAs between 2.0-3.5. Students can use the funds for vocational, certificate, or degree-granting programs.

    Scholarship Amount: Up to $10,000

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  4. Tourism Cares Scholarships

    As the tourism industry grows in Alaska, students who want to work in this sector can apply for Tourism Cares scholarships. The requirements vary by scholarship. However, most of the organization’s awards go to applicants with GPAs of 3.5 or higher who demonstrate interest in working for the tourism industry.

    Scholarship Amount: Varies

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  5. The Alaska Performance Scholarship

    The ACPE gives this merit-based award to Alaskan students at three different levels. Those who earn the most must have high school GPAs of 3.5 or higher and ACT scores of at least 25, or equivalent SAT scores. The third tier is for students with GPAs of 2.5-2.99 and ACT scores of 21 or 22.

    Scholarship Amount: $2,378-$4,755 per year

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