Online Schools and Colleges in Alaska

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

Alaska is home to several universities and colleges, many of which offer online distance education programs. While just over 4,000 students are enrolled in Alaska’s private colleges and universities, almost 30,000 learners attend public and state schools. Thanks to online learning, prospective students from any state can explore these digital campuses as they search for the perfect place to obtain their higher education goals. This page includes information on Alaska’s online college options and answers commonly asked questions about online degree programs in Alaska, including cost, transferring credits and accreditation.

Best Online Colleges in Alaska 2020

Best Online Schools

Online schools and colleges in Alaska offer practical, ever-growing alternatives to on-campus learning. The number of students enrolled in online courses in Alaska outweighs the national average. Online degree programs often offer more flexible schedules and lower tuition costs than on-campus programs.

This guide covers important information for prospective online students, including tuition costs and other fees, financial aid opportunities, and student resources.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 16 Acceptance Rate 73% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 40% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Through its various eLearning programs, the University of Alaska Fairbanks gives distance learners around the world an opportunity to earn occupation endorsements, certificates and bachelor's and master's degrees. Undergraduate students can pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in fields such as paralegal studies (AAS), early childhood education (AAS), psychology (BS) or business administration (BBA), to name a few examples. Those looking for an advanced education can choose from 5 master's degrees in areas such as special education, business administration and administration of justice. All UAF eLearning programs are available fully online but the university also offers hybrid courses for those interested in combining online and on-campus coursework. Students pursuing any of UAF's online programs qualify for an in-state rate, but additional fees are required before registration. Students considering an online occupational endorsement can take advantage of a 25% tuition discount.

2 Alaska Pacific University Anchorage, AK Tuition $19,900 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 55% Graduation Rate 58% Financial Aid 97% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Alaska Pacific University has a number of online courses, however, only the bachelor's business degree can be completed 100% online. At the graduate level, a Master's of Business as well as a Master's in Counseling and Psychology are available, but require an in-person component. Students pursuing an MBA must meet once per class on campus, while those pursuing a Master's in Counseling and Psychology must meet on campus every 6 weeks. APU offers a PhD program in Counseling and Psychology where most classes can be taken online, but students meet in person every 6 weeks. Academic advisors help students plan out their studies and stay on track for graduation. In order to graduate, students have to complete all major requirements, at least 24 resident credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0. It typically takes 4 years to complete the necessary amount of credits for a bachelor's degree. Students interested in transferring to APU must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The admissions office will assess transfer credits prior to class registration.

3 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate 49% Graduation Rate 17% Financial Aid 43% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Alaska Southeast focuses on providing students with opportunities to explore many different educational avenues along with programs focused on Alaskan culture, economics and way of life. Specialized courses include Alaska Native Language and Studies, Fisheries Technology and Marine Transportation to name a few. Admission requirements for online learning are the same as the requirements for on-campus learning, however there are fewer online programs available. These online programs may also have some in-person requirements that include on-campus participation or internships. Students can save on tuition by becoming a resident of Alaska or by providing proof of being a lineal descendant of a current Alaska resident. In order to do this, students will need to submit an application and documentation. In order to graduate, students must have been admitted to a degree program and completed general residency requirements. Associate and bachelor's degrees require students complete a minimum of 24 credits of general education courses, along with additional degree courses.

UAS is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCUU), the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Students interested in transferring to UAS from another school must apply for admission and provide an overview of their transfer credits. Certain requirements must be fulfilled depending on whether students are transferring from another University of Alaska campus or an outside school.

4 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 34% Financial Aid 30% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Alaska Anchorage is the largest university in the state. As Anchorage has the largest population of Alaskan Natives and American Indians in the United States, UAA strives to provide services and support to Native American students. One such program is the Native Early Transition program which seeks to alleviate the stress a student may face when first coming to UAA. UAA offers various degrees as well as career and technical education programs. These programs are aligned with Alaska's core industries and the Anchorage location offers students various employment opportunities before and after graduation. UAA offers Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. Both require the completion of 60 credits or more. Baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 120 credits and consist of three main components - general education requirements, major requirements and elective credits. Students can generally complete a bachelor's degree in a 4-year period. Graduate students have various requirements based on their individual program.

For those interested in the resources of UAA but have difficulty attending courses on campus, the university also offers many distance learning options. Students can fulfill all requirements on campus, completely off campus or a hybrid or mix of both. Some of the distance learning courses do require in person participation, but these will be scheduled in advance and students will be notified within the program description. Utilizing UAA's online programs, students can obtain an undergraduate degree in nursing science, master's degrees in early child special education, educational leadership, arctic engineering and public health practice, to name a few. Student interested in transferring to UAA must have completed 30 college level credits with a GPA of 2.0. Those with less than 30 transferrable credits must submit ACT or SAT scores, along with their high school transcript.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 16 Acceptance Rate 73% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 40% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Through its various eLearning programs, the University of Alaska Fairbanks gives distance learners around the world an opportunity to earn occupation endorsements, certificates and bachelor's and master's degrees. Undergraduate students can pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in fields such as paralegal studies (AAS), early childhood education (AAS), psychology (BS) or business administration (BBA), to name a few examples. Those looking for an advanced education can choose from 5 master's degrees in areas such as special education, business administration and administration of justice. All UAF eLearning programs are available fully online but the university also offers hybrid courses for those interested in combining online and on-campus coursework. Students pursuing any of UAF's online programs qualify for an in-state rate, but additional fees are required before registration. Students considering an online occupational endorsement can take advantage of a 25% tuition discount.

2 Alaska Pacific University Anchorage, AK Tuition $19,900 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 55% Graduation Rate 58% Financial Aid 97% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Alaska Pacific University has a number of online courses, however, only the bachelor's business degree can be completed 100% online. At the graduate level, a Master's of Business as well as a Master's in Counseling and Psychology are available, but require an in-person component. Students pursuing an MBA must meet once per class on campus, while those pursuing a Master's in Counseling and Psychology must meet on campus every 6 weeks. APU offers a PhD program in Counseling and Psychology where most classes can be taken online, but students meet in person every 6 weeks. Academic advisors help students plan out their studies and stay on track for graduation. In order to graduate, students have to complete all major requirements, at least 24 resident credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0. It typically takes 4 years to complete the necessary amount of credits for a bachelor's degree. Students interested in transferring to APU must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The admissions office will assess transfer credits prior to class registration.

3 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 13 Acceptance Rate 49% Graduation Rate 17% Financial Aid 43% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Alaska Southeast focuses on providing students with opportunities to explore many different educational avenues along with programs focused on Alaskan culture, economics and way of life. Specialized courses include Alaska Native Language and Studies, Fisheries Technology and Marine Transportation to name a few. Admission requirements for online learning are the same as the requirements for on-campus learning, however there are fewer online programs available. These online programs may also have some in-person requirements that include on-campus participation or internships. Students can save on tuition by becoming a resident of Alaska or by providing proof of being a lineal descendant of a current Alaska resident. In order to do this, students will need to submit an application and documentation. In order to graduate, students must have been admitted to a degree program and completed general residency requirements. Associate and bachelor's degrees require students complete a minimum of 24 credits of general education courses, along with additional degree courses.

UAS is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCUU), the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Students interested in transferring to UAS from another school must apply for admission and provide an overview of their transfer credits. Certain requirements must be fulfilled depending on whether students are transferring from another University of Alaska campus or an outside school.

4 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK Tuition $5,936 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 34% Financial Aid 30% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Alaska Anchorage is the largest university in the state. As Anchorage has the largest population of Alaskan Natives and American Indians in the United States, UAA strives to provide services and support to Native American students. One such program is the Native Early Transition program which seeks to alleviate the stress a student may face when first coming to UAA. UAA offers various degrees as well as career and technical education programs. These programs are aligned with Alaska's core industries and the Anchorage location offers students various employment opportunities before and after graduation. UAA offers Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. Both require the completion of 60 credits or more. Baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 120 credits and consist of three main components - general education requirements, major requirements and elective credits. Students can generally complete a bachelor's degree in a 4-year period. Graduate students have various requirements based on their individual program.

For those interested in the resources of UAA but have difficulty attending courses on campus, the university also offers many distance learning options. Students can fulfill all requirements on campus, completely off campus or a hybrid or mix of both. Some of the distance learning courses do require in person participation, but these will be scheduled in advance and students will be notified within the program description. Utilizing UAA's online programs, students can obtain an undergraduate degree in nursing science, master's degrees in early child special education, educational leadership, arctic engineering and public health practice, to name a few. Student interested in transferring to UAA must have completed 30 college level credits with a GPA of 2.0. Those with less than 30 transferrable credits must submit ACT or SAT scores, along with their high school transcript.

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Alaska?

Prospective students can use websites such as U.S. News & World Report to determine the best-ranked online schools and programs. The following link also provides information on accredited Alaska colleges and universities.

How Much More Do College Grads in Alaska Make?

Professionals with a postsecondary degree typically enjoy more employment opportunities and higher salaries than professionals without a degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salaries increase with a professional's level of education. The following table outlines average nationwide salaries for various education levels.

Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in Alaska: Tuition and Financial Aid

Earning a degree requires a significant financial investment. However, students can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of a degree, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Additionally, Alaska offers several opportunities for reduced tuition, including the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which offers tuition discounts to out-of-state students from participating states and institutions.

The following tables outline average undergraduate tuition and fees for public and private universities in the U.S. and Alaska.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$7,924 $20,061

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$19,360 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Alaska

In addition to tuition, students should consider expenses like technology and textbook fees when weighing the overall cost of a degree. We highlight several of these expenses below.

Technology Fees: Some online programs require students to pay fees for software access and new technology.
Distance Education Fees: Online students may need to pay a distance education fee to support the costs of online course administration.
Residency Costs: Many schools offer tuition discounts to in-state students, while others allow all online students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Travel Costs: Some online degree programs feature on-campus requirements, which may require students to pay for travel and room and board.
Textbook Fees: Though many distance education programs use free online resources, students may need to purchase digital or physical copies of textbooks and other learning materials.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Alaska

Online schools and colleges in Alaska feature various qualifications for in-state tuition. Traditionally, in-state students include those who reside in the state. However, students may qualify for in-state tuition through other means, such as reciprocity agreements or regional exchange agreements. Additionally, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition, regardless of where they live. Students should research each prospective school to determine tuition requirements.

Paying for College in Alaska: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Online learners can take advantage of several financial aid opportunities to offset education expenses, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Scholarships and loans are ideal as, unlike grants, they do not require repayment. We cover several grant and scholarship opportunities for Alaska students below.

Scholarships for Alaska College Students

Alaska Performance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA and a minimum score of 1060 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT qualify for this award.

Amount: Up to $4,755 per year

Apply For Scholarship

JJ Klein Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Alaska high school students with demonstrable financial need who plan to attend an accredited university qualify for this award. Applicants with a GPA above 3.5 are ineligible for the scholarship.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply For Scholarship

Gary Martin Swim Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who participated in high school swim and hold a GPA between 2.5 and 3.5 qualify for this award. Applicants with demonstrable financial need receive preference.

Amount: $1,000

Apply For Scholarship

William Hunt Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in an accredited hospitality, travel, or tourism program with a minimum 3.0 GPA qualify for this award.

Amount: $2,000

Apply For Scholarship

BP Alaska Principal's Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school principals in Alaska nominate one senior for this award each year. A committee selects 10 winners annually, with one awardee selected to receive an additional $10,000.

Amount: $5,000

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Alaska College Students

Alaska Education Grant

Who Can Apply: This grant awards money based on the highest financial need. Applicants must be taking at least 15 credits to receive the maximum award.

Amount: $500-$4,000

Apply For Grant

Alaska Space Grant Program

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate students engaged in aerospace engineering, earth science, or other STEM research may apply for this grant. Applicants must attend an accredited Alaskan university and be in good academic standing.

Amount: Varies annually based on NASA funding

Apply For Grant

Federal Pell Grant

Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the federal government, the Pell grant supports students with demonstrable financial need. Applicants must submit the FAFSA every year that they wish to be considered.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Academic Competitiveness Grant

Who Can Apply: Students in their first or second year at a college or university may apply for this need-based federal grant. Students must be in good academic standing.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

National SMART Grant

Who Can Apply: This federal grant accepts applicants in their third or fourth year of study in a technical field, eligible foreign language program, or qualifying liberal arts program.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Alaska

Students should consider accreditation status when researching prospective schools. Accreditation expands employment, education, and financial aid opportunities and indicates that a school meets high academic standards.

Regional and National Accreditation

Prospective students should look for a school's accreditation status when researching potential programs. Accreditation expands employment, education, and financial aid opportunities and indicates that a school meets quality academic standards.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes certain nongovernmental agencies as accrediting organizations. The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also approves and monitors accrediting agencies.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. Programmatic accreditation indicates that a program meets high academic standards and adequately prepares students for the workforce. Students can research a program's accreditation status through CHEA's directory.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Students can typically find a program or school's accreditation status through the school's website. Prospective students can also search CHEA's accrediting directory or the Department of Education's accrediting directory. Each of these organizations record accredited schools and programs, along with the corresponding agency.

Online College and Adult Education in Alaska

Online schools and colleges in Alaska offer a quality education in a flexible and accessible learning format, attracting many Alaska students to online programs, as the following table indicates.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Alaska

Almost 22% of Alaska students took exclusively online courses in 2015.

Around 48% of Alaska students enrolled in at least one online course in 2015.

Business administration and management is the most common online bachelor's degree in Alaska.

Source: Online Learning Survey

Adult Education Programs for Alaska Students

  • FAFSA Time Alaska: The FAFSA determines a student's eligibility for federal financial aid. This program provides distance and in-person FAFSA completion assistance to Alaska students.
  • Apply Now Alaska: This program supports low-income and first-generation students in applying to college. Created by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, the program offers support from November through February.
  • College Access Challenge Grant Program: The Department of Education partners with state and local governments to match grants for low-income students. This program also provides career and education advice to recipients.

Online College Resources for Alaska Students

Current and prospective online students in Alaska can take advantage of a variety of helpful resources, which offer information on topics like financial aid opportunities, program availability, and student services.

  • Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education: Designed to bolster college attendance rates in the state, the commission provides students with low-interest supplemental loans and information on financial aid, including scholarship and grant opportunities.
  • BigFuture: Through this website, students can compare colleges and universities, explore various programs and majors, and learn about financial aid opportunities.
  • Murkowski.senate.gov: Through this website, Senator Lisa Murkowski offers links to federal and state resources with information on financial aid opportunities, college planning services, and public service.
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities: The NWCCU accredits colleges and universities in Alaska, monitoring the standards of education in each school. Students can search for accredited online degree programs through this site.
  • StudentLoans.gov: A federal website dedicated to helping students pay for college, visitors can access information on financial aid counseling, loan options, and federal grant opportunities.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in Alaska

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