Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Alaska

Does Alaska have good online colleges and universities?

Compared to other states, Alaska has relatively few institutions of higher education. Only one university in Alaska offers an online bachelor’s degree program, and two others offer online graduate degree programs. That said, these programs tend to be affordable relative to other states, especially when you take into account tuition discounts available to students from western states through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). It’s worth noting that U.S. News & World Report does not rank Alaska’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs very highly.

Do online college credits in Alaska cost more than in-person classes?

At University of Alaska Fairbanks, the only university in Alaska that offers an online bachelor’s degree program, you pay significantly less for an online degree than for an in-person degree program, especially if you’re an out-of-state student. The online tuition fee for all students regardless of residency is $262 per credit, whereas the on-campus tuition fees for out-of-state students begin at $800 per credit and get as high as $1,105 per credit. For graduate degree programs, the online and on-campus tuition fees are more comparable.

Why should you choose Alaska for online higher education?

Alaska’s online higher education options are somewhat limited compared to other states, but the online degree options that do exist in Alaska tend to be affordable. Therefore, the combination of flexible online classes at a reasonable price could be a good fit if you want a solid education and affordable tuition.

The Cost of Online College in Alaska

How much does an online degree in Alaska cost?

The cost of an online degree in Alaska depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Alaska below. Note that there is currently only one institution in Alaska that offers an online bachelor’s degree:

  • Most affordable online college in Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks, $262 per credit

Average College Tuition Costs

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Alaska to get in-state tuition rates?

To be considered an Alaska resident and qualify for in-state tuition, you need to have lived in Alaska for the past two years. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. You may qualify for reduced tuition if you reside in a state that’s a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s WRGP, which offers more affordable tuition to students from western U.S. states. Moreover, you may qualify for in-state tuition if your parent(s) graduated from the university in Alaska you want to attend or if you are a veteran or active-duty service member.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Alaska?

The state of Alaska offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through the WRGP mentioned above, which caps graduate school tuition in Alaska at 150% of in-state tuition for students from the 16 states in the western U.S.

Alaska residents with unmet financial need are also eligible for the Alaska Education Grant, which provides up to $4,000 of aid to students enrolled full- or part-time at a college or university in Alaska. The grant is based on demonstrated financial need, so it’s important to file your FAFSA application early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show you if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Alaska

In addition to the Alaska Education Grant, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, whereas others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Alaska Performance Scholarship

This is a merit-based scholarship system that awards Alaskan students with three different levels of funding. To earn the highest-level award, $4,755 per year, you must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or above and ACT scores of at least 25, or equivalent SAT scores. To earn the lowest-level award, $2,378 per year, you need a high school GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 and an ACT score of 21 or 22.

Who’s eligible? Alaska residents who meet certain GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements. The minimum requirements are a GPA of 2.5 to 2.99 and an ACT score of 21.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-441-2962

Learn more

JJ Klein Scholarship Fund

This privately funded scholarship awards up to $10,000 to Alaska residents enrolled full-time in a four-year university in Alaska. What’s unique about this scholarship is that it has a maximum GPA cutoff: if your GPA is above 3.5, you are not eligible for the funding. It is intended for students with “B” or “C” averages who demonstrate the motivation to succeed.

Who’s eligible? Alaska residents enrolled (or soon to enroll) full-time in a four-year university in Alaska, who have a GPA between 2.0 and 3.5.

Contact information: [email protected] | 907-334-6700

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Alaska Space Grant Program

This program provides funding to students majoring in STEM or STEM education fields at higher education institutions in Alaska. The program includes several different funding routes, including undergraduate research apprenticeships, NASA internships, Alaska industry internships, travel awards, and team competition awards.

Who’s eligible? U.S. citizens attending a university in Alaska and majoring in a STEM or STEM education field.

Contact information: [email protected] | 907-474-6833

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Pride Foundation Scholarship

The Pride Foundation offers grants to support LGBTQ+ and allied students who are from the American Northwest or are attending college in one of the five Northwestern states (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington).

Who’s eligible? LGBTQ+ and allied students who live in the Northwest and/or are enrolled at a university in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-735-7287

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in Alaska

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Alaska can make it easier to find a job when you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Occupational Forecast 2018 to 2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have the highest growth rates in Alaska:

Surveyors

Surveyors are responsible for making measurements to determine property boundaries. Their data are crucial to engineering, mapmaking, and construction projects. Surveyors make an average annual salary of $91,900 in Alaska.

  • Projected growth: 21.92%
  • Degree options: Bachelor in Surveying, Mapping, and Geomatics as well as certification through the National Society of Professional Surveyors

Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians

Veterinarians are the equivalent of medical doctors for animals. Veterinary technologists and technicians are trained to assist veterinary doctors in their animal care. In Alaska, veterinarians earn an average annual salary of $109,100, whereas veterinary techs earn an average annual salary of $43,510.

 

Home Health Aides

As Alaska’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of qualified home health aides to help care for patients, often older adults or disabled people, in their homes. In Alaska, home health aides make an average annual salary of $34,500. Although you do not always need a certificate or degree for this position, having a strong educational background in the field can help you stand out.

  • Projected growth: 23.1%
  • Degree options: Home Health Aide Training Program, Certificate in Home Health, Associate in Nursing

Extraction Operators

Oil is one of Alaska’s biggest industries. Without it, its economy would shrink in half. The oil industry accounts for nearly 25% of all the jobs in Alaska. In the coming decade, the state expects extraction operator jobs to increase dramatically, especially derrick operators for oil and gas, mining machine operators, and extraction worker helpers. Derrick operators in Alaska make an average annual salary of $73,880, mining machine operators make $69,140, and extraction helpers make $48,970.

  • Projected growth: Up to 31.92%
  • Degree options: Associate in Oil and Gas Production Technology, Associate in Petroleum Technology, Bachelor’s in Mining, Oil, & Gas

Farmworkers and Laborers

Alaska expects demand for farmworker and laborer jobs to nearly double in the next decade. These jobs are typically not very well paid, with an average salary of $30,000 per year, and they do not require a degree. However, earning a degree in a related field can qualify you for management and supervisory positions in the farming industry, which have average annual salaries of approximately $70,000 in Alaska.

  • Projected growth: 72.65%
  • Degree options: Associate in Agricultural Science, Associate in Management, Bachelor’s in Agricultural Science, Bachelor’s in Management

Our Research

Our curated list of the best online colleges in Alaska is based on our extensive research of all types of colleges, including both private and public institutions. We reviewed and compared important details about each college, including the tuition and fees charged, the credits required to graduate, and the delivery method for the coursework.

Each of the Alaska schools on our list is an accredited institution, which guarantees that they meet rigorous standards for higher education. Most of the Alaska colleges on this list are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), which aims to help member institutions ensure student achievement and success while closing equity gaps and supporting continuous improvements.

  • 35 hours to write this article
  • 15 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 28 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Alaska

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