Online colleges in Alaska unlock many career opportunities for students. Earning a degree allows professionals to apply for a wider variety of positions than those without a degree. Advanced degrees cater to students interested in achieving higher pay brackets and in getting more job opportunities. Attending college in state offers many benefits; students enjoy lower in-state tuition rates and can explore widespread networking opportunities, connecting them to potential jobs and employers.
Higher Learning Initiatives in Alaska
Alaska’s Learning Network
Alaska’s Learning Network is an online learning and professional development platform for public high school students and teachers in Alaska. The site provides students and teachers access to the best training and learning opportunities, no matter what school district they belong to. Individuals use it as a supplementary resource to traditional classrooms. AKLN consists of a coalition of every public school district in the state and is managed by an appointed advisory board. Launched in 2011, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Alaska Council of School Administrators, the Alaska Staff Development Network, and the Association of Alaska School Boards all sponsor the platform.
Blueprint for Reform
In the spring of 2009, the U.S. Department of Education began talks with American Indian and Alaska Native leaders to discuss the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Blueprint for Reform serves as the guide for reauthorization and reform, and it was created as a result of these talks. Essentially, this guide states that the government promises to work on reforming the ESEA to improve educational outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native students. Since 2010, the department has met with more than 350 tribal leaders to find out what issues deserve immediate solutions and what other changes these groups would like to see in the education system.
The Alaska Virtual Academy
Correspondence schools are popular in Alaskan rural towns, where homeschooling sometimes proves a better option than traditional schooling. Most correspondence courses in Alaska occur via video conferencing and DVD because students do not always enjoy access to broadband internet. As such, only one correspondence school operates entirely online: the Alaska Virtual Academy. This public online academy provides online homeschooling to K-8 students free of charge.
Popular Degree-Granting Programs in Alaska
Biology and nursing serve as Alaska’s top two college and university programs according to Business Insider. Many career opportunities exist within these fields.
- Biology: Students studying biology learn about individual organisms and their communities. Courses cover topics like cell biology, marine biology, evolutionary biology, and plant biology, teaching students how systems, processes, and cells make up living matter.
- Nursing: Nursing students gain the skills and knowledge they need to obtain jobs as registered nurses. Many types of nursing degrees exist, including more advanced degrees, which unlock more diverse career opportunities and higher salary opportunities.
- BP Alaska Principal's Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Open to high school seniors in Alaska, the BP Alaska Principal’s Scholarship program awards educational funding to students with a minimum “B” average. Applicants must enroll at an accredited college in Alaska and demonstrate financial need.
- Alaska Chapter ASSE Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Available to aspiring occupational safety and health practitioners in Alaska, the Alaska Chapter ASSE Foundation Scholarship awards educational assistance funding to full-time students attending schools accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Applicants must hold an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or a graduate GPA of 3.5.
- PMI Alaska Chapter Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The PMI Alaska Chapter Scholarship awards $2,500 every summer to students who belong to the PMI Alaska Chapter. Applicants must live in Alaska for at least two years, attend an accredited business school, and pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in project management.
- Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation Scholarships award educational funding to high-achieving medical students. Applicants must live in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, or Oregon and pursue a doctoral program with the intention of practicing osteopathic medicine in these states.
Amount: $2,500 – $20,000
- Alaska Performance Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Open to high school graduates in Alaska, the Alaska Performance scholarship awards three different amounts to students attending an in-state college full time with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Amount: $2,000 – $5,000
- William Hunt Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Open to Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Washington, or Idaho students interested in tourism, the William Hunt Scholarship requires applicants to achieve sophomore status, declare a tourism or hospitality related major, and hold a 3.0 minimum GPA.
- Gary Martin Swim Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Functioning as one of the Alaska Community Foundation funds, the Gary Martin Swim Scholarship awards $1,000 each year to seniors graduating from high schools in Alaska. Applicants must participate on the varsity swim team at their school, enroll full time in college, and hold a 2.5 minimum GPA.
- JJ Klein Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Open to graduating seniors in Alaska, the JJ Klein Scholarship requires applicants to enroll full time at an accredited institution and hold a 2.0 minimum GPA. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $10,000
- Henry and Joyce W. Sumid
Who Can Apply: Available to students in Alaska studying theatre at an accredited U.S. art school. Applicants must hold a 3.0 minimum GPA and demonstrate significant financial need.
- Pride Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Available to students living in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Alaska, or Oregon, the Pride Foundation Scholarships award educational funding to students who demonstrate significant financial need and support for the LGBTQ community.
- Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education: The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education grants students access to several useful resources. They can explore topics related to their FAFSA and financial aid, access a career information system, and track their grant and scholarship eligibility.
- Alaska College and Career Advising Consortium: The Alaska College and Career Advising Consortium appoints recent college graduates to work in high schools as peer mentors. Mentors collaborate with counselors, families, communities, school staff, and students to keep students on track to enter college and begin career training.
- Alaska Career Information System: The Alaska Career Information System operates as a free resource for students in Alaska, partnering with the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Students can use the site to customize a portfolio, create a professional resume, and find jobs and college programs relevant to their career goals.
- ACPE Success Center: At the ACPE Success Center, students participate in one-on-one coaching, diving into career training research, career and college applications, career exploration, financial aid applications, scholarship opportunities, and college enrollment coaching. The resource also provides members with free publications and group presentations.
- College Goal Alaska: Operating as a resource for students to receive help filling out their FAFSA, College Goal Alaska provides both on site and online assistance for students struggling to complete their FAFSA. Additionally, the resource provides them with various tips for completing the application.
University of Alaska Southeast
- Graduation Rate: 10%
- Average Net Price: $10,674
University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Graduation Rate: 33%
- Average Net Price: $9,974
Alaska Pacific University
- Graduation Rate: 52%
- Average Net Price: $26,194
Paying for College in Alaska
Students should evaluate the price of different online colleges in Alaska before choosing one. Tuition rates vary depending on the institution. In addition to tuition costs, students should evaluate the cost of textbooks, course materials, and online fees.
Alaska features affordable tuition rates for public four-year institutions. The U.S. average for public four-year institutions is $9,978, while comparable tuition in Alaska is $7,820. These costs do not include additional expenses such as technology fees or book fees.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in Alaska
Graduates of online schools in Alaska find jobs with higher salaries. The annual mean wage for the U.S. is $50,620, with Alaska’s annual mean wage at $57,750. Recent graduates tend to look at salaries when deciding which career path to follow; they look at what states, metropolitan areas, and industries offer the highest salary potential. The unemployment rate in Alaska is higher than the U.S. average, with the U.S. reporting a 3.8% unemployment rate and Alaska reporting a 6.3% unemployment rate.
Accreditation for Colleges in Alaska
Students attending online colleges in Alaska should make sure they enroll in an accredited college or university. Students will notice two types of accreditation: regional and national. Coursework at nationally accredited schools does not usually feature much liberal arts-based material, but instead features career-focused curricula. Nationally accredited institutions, though often less expensive than their regionally accredited counterparts, typically get excluded from tuition reimbursement plans. Additionally, credits at nationally accredited institutions often get declined in transfer scenarios.
Regionally accredited institutions feature a variety of liberal arts-based coursework with an instructor-led format. Tuition at regionally accredited universities is typically higher than tuition at nationally accredited institutions, but regionally accredited colleges are included in most tuition reimbursement plans. Most graduate schools and employers accept credits from regionally accredited colleges or universities in transfer situations. Because of these points, regionally accredited institutions are considered more prestigious than those with national accreditation.
Scholarships for Alaska Online College Students
Students applying to online colleges in Alaska can explore a variety of scholarship opportunities. Many merit- and need-based scholarships are available, even specific scholarships for students who live and study in Alaska.