Alaska may appear to have limited higher education opportunities due to its remote location and low population, yet a closer look shows otherwise. Students who live close to major cities can attend Alaska Pacific University or one of the three University of Alaska campuses, while smaller towns are home to several technical schools and Christian colleges. In addition, four-year colleges in Alaska offer more than 100 online programs between them, making higher education accessible to anyone with a reliable internet connection. Start your Alaska college search, see which schools are the most affordable, and find invaluable college planning resources in the following guide.

Alaska College Rankings: Best of 2016-17

Alaska Alaska

No matter what students want to study when they go to college in Alaska, they should be confident that they’re receiving the best education their tuition can buy. In order to help students see what schools have to offer, we’ve ranked the top colleges in Alaska based on criteria such as price, financial aid opportunities, and the ratio of students to professors. Find out how schools ranked below.

1 Ilisagvik College
Score
99.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
TUITION & FEES
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
ALUMNI EARNINGS
N/A
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
5:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
Gift Financial Aid
N/A
Ilisagvik College
Score
99.74
  • Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
    TUITION & FEES
  • Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
    ALUMNI EARNINGS
    N/A
  • STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
    5:1
  • First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
    Gift Financial Aid
    N/A

  • Graduation Rate 45%
  • Acceptance Rate N/A
  • # Online Programs 0
  • # Total Programs 31
  • Placement Services No
  • Credit for Experience Yes
1 Alaska Pacific University
Score
98.96
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
TUITION & FEES
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
ALUMNI EARNINGS
$47,400
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
7:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
Gift Financial Aid
100%
Alaska Pacific University
Score
98.96
  • Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
    TUITION & FEES
  • Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
    ALUMNI EARNINGS
    $47,400
  • STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
    7:1
  • First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
    Gift Financial Aid
    100%

  • Graduation Rate 52%
  • Acceptance Rate 42%
  • # Online Programs 4
  • # Total Programs 26
  • Placement Services No
  • Credit for Experience Yes
2 University of Alaska Fairbanks
Score
95.91
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
TUITION & FEES
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
ALUMNI EARNINGS
$38,200
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
Gift Financial Aid
43%
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Score
95.91
  • Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
    TUITION & FEES
  • Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
    ALUMNI EARNINGS
    $38,200
  • STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
    14:1
  • First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
    Gift Financial Aid
    43%

  • Graduation Rate 33%
  • Acceptance Rate N/A
  • # Online Programs 14
  • # Total Programs 104
  • Placement Services Yes
  • Credit for Experience Yes
3 University of Alaska Anchorage
Score
95.26
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
TUITION & FEES
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
ALUMNI EARNINGS
$42,000
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
Gift Financial Aid
44%
University of Alaska Anchorage
Score
95.26
  • Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
    TUITION & FEES
  • Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
    ALUMNI EARNINGS
    $42,000
  • STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
    19:1
  • First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
    Gift Financial Aid
    44%

  • Graduation Rate 26%
  • Acceptance Rate N/A
  • # Online Programs 4
  • # Total Programs 88
  • Placement Services Yes
  • Credit for Experience No
4 University of Alaska Southeast
Score
95.36
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
TUITION & FEES
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
ALUMNI EARNINGS
$39,500
STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
Gift Financial Aid
48%
University of Alaska Southeast
Score
95.36
  • Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
    TUITION & FEES
  • Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
    ALUMNI EARNINGS
    $39,500
  • STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO
    15:1
  • First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
    Gift Financial Aid
    48%

  • Graduation Rate 10%
  • Acceptance Rate N/A
  • # Online Programs 10
  • # Total Programs 32
  • Placement Services Yes
  • Credit for Experience No

Search and Compare Colleges in Alaska

All students have their own individual needs and career goals. As a result, it’s imperative for them to find the school that will best position them to be successful in their chosen professions. Students who are looking for colleges in Alaska can use the search tool below to find the school that is best for them. Compare schools based on price, size, and location to help make this important decision.

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College Planning & Assistance Programs in Alaska

The earlier students can begin preparing for college, the better. To that end, the Alaska Commission of Postsecondary Education has created several planning programs designed to help high school and other prospective students explore prepare for admissions test, explore career goals and apply for financial aid. Listed below are a few of the major programs:

Alaska College and Career Advising Corps

Established in 2009, the Alaska College and Career Advising Corps is designed to encourage more high school students to attend college and pursue high-skill careers. The initiative – part of the national College Advising Corps movement – employs recent college grads who visit high schools to connect with local students. These mentors help students map out career plans, register for admissions tests like the ACT and SAT, research college options, and apply for financial aid. With less than 50 percent of Alaska high school graduates pursuing higher education, this program hopes to make significant inroads on the state’s college enrollment rate.

College Goal Alaska

Held across 25 communities, College Goal Alaska is a series of events where students and their families can get help filling out FAFSA® paperwork – free of charge. Both volunteers and financial aid professionals are on hand to provide assistance. Dependent students should come with a parent or legal guardian while all students should bring appropriate tax forms and identification. Check here to get more information, check the upcoming schedule, and register for an event.

Money $marts

This free online resource arms Alaskan college students and recent graduates with core money-management skills. From setting a monthly budget and understanding credit scores to examining the financial benefits of graduating and paying off student loans in a timely matter, this site provides an invaluable resource for keeping student debt to a minimum.

Evaluating the Cost of College in Alaska

The cost of attending college in Alaska depends on what type of school students enroll in and whether or not they receive financial aid. This section compares tuition rates in Alaska to national averages, as well as the amount of financial aid students in the state generally receive.

Average Alaska Tuition &
Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of Alaska Students
Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award
for Alaska Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in Alaska

Cost is a key factor in the college decision-making process – yet tuition rates don’t tell the entire story. Below we’ve listed the six-most affordable colleges in Alaska based on net price, which accounts for financial aid received and more accurately represents the cost of attending college.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

Alaska College Net Price vs. National Average
ALASKA $13,495 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Alaska Colleges With Top Alumni Earnings

College is a huge investment, so students need to know that they’re getting an education that can yield a good return on their investment. The list below provides information on which colleges in Alaska have alumni that make the best salaries within ten years of entering college.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Alaska Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
ALASKA $41,775 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Alaska Colleges for Low Student Loan Debt

In 2014, the Alaska State Legislature passed a measure that would create more favorable terms for those who get student loans. Even with this type of assistance, students are still concerned about keeping their student loan obligations to a minimum-which is highly influenced by what school they choose to attend. This section outlines which colleges in Alaska have students with the least amount of student loan debt after graduation.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

Alaska College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
ALASKA $21,309 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Cost of Living in Alaska: Housing, Healthcare and Other Expenses

Tuition is not the only expense students who attend college in Alaska must consider. Investopedia reports that although the rent in large Alaskan cities is lower than many other major cities in the country, residents do pay more for utility bills and groceries. This section provides a more detailed look at the cost of living in Alaska by comparing rates of expenses such as housing, groceries, transportation, and health care to the national averages.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 133% 145% 127% 154% 132% 144% 118%
Anchorage 132% 161% 124% 103% 118% 140% 123%
Anchorage-Fairbanks-Juneau 132% 143% 124% 156% 128% 146% 118%
Fairbanks 134% 120% 120% 231% 130% 148% 121%
Juneau 131% 149% 127% 133% 136% 150% 111%
Kodiak 136% 150% 142% 145% 148% 137% 115%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for Alaska Colleges

When making a decision about which college to attend, it’s important for students to look for schools that are accredited, which helps to ensure that they’ll receive a quality education. Accreditation is provided by agencies that certify a school’s curriculum, faculty, and facilities meet high standards. Colleges in Alaska are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which provides credentials to both traditional and online schools. In addition, there are accrediting bodies that oversee specific degree programs. The following are examples of these agencies and the programs they accredit:

Popular Cities to Attend College in Alaska

Anchorage

Anchorage is one of Alaska's largest cities, and it is also considered one of the most livable cities in the country. Students who graduate from colleges in Anchorage often find employment in some of the city's most popular industries, which include the education, health services, and hospitality sectors. Among the colleges in the city are the University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

AnchorageUniversity of Alaska, Anchorage Public $8,160 $42,000
The University of Alaska, Anchorage's most popular degree programs among the school's 18,154 students include business, health professions, psychology and sociology. Although the school, which was founded in 1954, is the largest university in Alaska, students enjoy a small 11:1 student to professor ratio.
AnchorageAlaska Pacific University Public $9,372 $38,200
Alaska Pacific University, which opened in 1957, is located on a 175-acre campus near the trail system in Anchorage. The school has 732 students enrolled in the school's undergraduate and graduate programs. Some of the most popular degrees granted by the school are in business administration, liberal arts, and parks, recreation, and leisure studies.
Fairbanks

Fairbanks, which has a population of 32,469, offers two- and four-year college programs at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Some key industries in the city are manufacturing, construction, leisure and hospitality, and health services.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

FairbanksUniversity of Alaska, Fairbanks Public $9,372 $38,200
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks has 9,870 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at its nine colleges and schools, such as the School of Education, the School of Management, the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. UAF offers 146 degree and 31 certificate options, with psychology, biology, and public administration among the most popular. With 2,784 faculty members, the school boasts small class sizes that allow students to get individualized attention.

Source: College Scorecard

Alaska College Resources

There are many resources out there to help students choose which college in Alaska to attend. The following are some resources we have compiled to aid students with their research.

Adult Basic Education – Alaska Job Center Network

This agency is responsible for providing adult education to prepare students for vocational training.

Adult Learning Programs of Alaska…Where Learning Never Ends

This organization provides educational services to students in Fairbanks.

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education promotes postsecondary education in the state by providing information about schools, financial aid, and resources.

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development

This agency oversees education in the state.

Alaska Resource Education

This non-profit organization supports education on Alaska’s natural resources.

American Association of Community Colleges – Alaska

This website includes statistics about Alaska’s community colleges, including the demographics of students.

Choosing a College

This report includes information about different colleges around the state.

Education Services Office – State of Alaska

Provides educational benefits to members of the military.

DEED eLearning – Education & Early Development

This site provides online education through the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.

University of Alaska System

Includes information about schools, scholarships, and student services for the University of Alaska System.