Best Colleges & Universities in Alaska
One click can begin a thousand-mile journey to the immense state of Alaska. The northernmost state in the United States is well-known for its natural beauties. Attending college in Alaska allows people to behold the wonder and beauty that is in Alaska as individuals move forward in their academic journey.
Fourteen colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions are available from which students can choose. For those who may be looking to live in and explore Alaska during college, we hope to provide some helpful information as they decide which institution is right for them.
Alaska may not be the first place one may think of when speculating about where to attend college, but with lower tuition rates than most other states, it becomes quite a viable option. Though there are few postsecondary schools there, Alaska has adopted measures to boost academic growth and has kept tuition costs low. By doing so, Alaska has added low-cost tuition to the long list of beautiful things that already draw many to the state. The hope is that it will bring students to their colleges who are excited to enjoy all that Alaska offers.
Colleges in Alaska Fast Facts
- Fall enrollment (2017) = 26,905
- Degrees awarded in Alaska(2016) = 5,630
- Median in-state public tuition (2016) = $5,936
- Median private tuition (2016) = $14,450
- Largest school = University of Alaska Anchorage
EDsmart assesses colleges in Alaska based on data that covers four main areas:
- Cost (average net price)
- Academic quality (graduation rate)
- Student satisfaction (retention rate)
- Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)
This ranking aims to help students assess the affordability and value of top colleges in Alaska so they can make informed decisions about which college to attend.
Best Colleges in Alaska for 2019-2020
1. University of Alaska Fairbanks
Salary After Graduating: $38,700
Average Net Price: $9,988
Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 28%
A search among the best schools in Alaska will reveal that the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) tops the list. As the only national college in the state, as named by U.S. News and World Reports, it also received the high honor of being called one of the top ten small universities in the country in 2018 by Times Higher Education.
Offering undergraduate and graduate programs of study, UAF offers majors such as Accounting, Alaska Native Languages, Atmospheric Sciences, Indigenous Studies, Oceanography, Physics, and more. Students can finish up their post-graduate studies and move on to their graduate studies without the need to transfer to another college. Some programs qualify for significantly discounted tuition, so it’s worth the effort to inquire about them.
The Best Colleges in Alaska receive an A ranking from Niche.com. The four-year university has a solid B rating. With an A in Diversity and B+ in Academics, it could very well be the right choice for those in pursuit of higher education. Housing and dining options make it possible for students from all over the country to live on campus while they complete their degrees.
2. University of Alaska Anchorage
Salary After Graduating: $45,400
Average Net Price: $13,378
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 24%
Known as the second-largest post-secondary institution in Alaska, the University of Alaska Anchorage offers over 100 certifications and degree programs. Students can major in anything from Accounting to Art to Computer Science to Medical Laboratory Science. The university is divided into multiple colleges of study which specialize in different disciplines such as Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Health.
Generous with its awarding of scholarships, potential attendees will find it topping the list of the best colleges in Alaska for a good reason. The average student at U of A is female and over 28 years of age. Adults who look to change careers or hope to continue graduate studies at another institution love what UAA has to offer them.
Its Niche.com score ranks it a C+. U of A received an A for diversity thanks to its variety of subjects to study. For those who care less about partying and more about gaining the knowledge and skills needed to work in the profession of their choice, they’ll want to review the application process and try for some of the $34 million total in scholarships.
Salary After Graduating: $31,200
Average Net Price: $16,603
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 70%
Among the best schools in Alaska, Alaska Career College offers certifications and degree programs ranging from Aircraft Dispatching to Therapeutic Massage. Its Medical Assistant program remains one of its most popular programs. ACC also offers associate degrees in Business: Accounting Technology, Business: Computer Technology, Business: Human Resources, Insurance Coding and Billing, and Phlebotomy Technician.
Students benefit from smaller class sizes and the resulting increased personalized attention they receive from instructors. Since March of 1985, the college received accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), meaning that all programs of study at ACC meet specific standards as deemed necessary by the accrediting party. When transferring credits from one college to the next, students will find that accreditation is of the utmost importance.
Additional to providing support for students of all ages, it also caters to the needs of current members of the United States military as well as veterans and their dependents. Offering a flexible classroom environment and assistance in locating housing in Anchorage, student needs are prioritized by college staff, who strive to set them up for academic success. With a B rating from Niche.com and a 100 percent approval rate, this small institution rates high for student quality of life.
4. Alaska Pacific University
Salary After Graduating: $40,200
Average Net Price: $18,518
Retention Rate: 64%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Students in Alaska who want a different type of higher education gravitate toward Alaska Pacific University (APU). Catering to the needs of Undergraduates and Graduates, the school offers degrees and certifications in a wide range of career fields. Some of the more exciting options include Marine and Environmental Sciences, Outdoors Studies, and Outdoor and Environmental Education. Many APU students take advantage of everything the beautiful state has to offer by pursuing majors that involve the natural world. For those who opt to major in the fields as mentioned above of study, they will get an up-close and personal view of the Great Outdoors through the classes they take.
The best colleges in Alaska rank high for student satisfaction. When considering APU, don’t forget to consider the school’s many recreation facilities, including a pool, weight room, climbing wall, and even biking trails. Students who want to live on campus find housing options that meet their needs and budget. APU students can eat well at school, too, thanks to the dining hall and weekly Farmer’s Market.
Quite possibly one of the better schools in the state for all the extras it offers its students, Alaska Pacific University’s Niche.com rating is a B straight across the board. It’s a smaller institution with big potential!
5. University of Alaska Southeast
Salary After Graduating: $36,000
Average Net Price: $12,533
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 21%
The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) offers students the opportunity to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in one location. This high-ranking college has programs of study that include Biology and Marine Biology, Education, Healthcare, Marine Transportation, Mining, and Outdoor Studies, to name a few. UAS has three campuses in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka to make it easier and more convenient for students to study the major of their choice.
Offering students the opportunity to explore their surroundings further, student life at UAS is one of the things that make the university one of the best schools in Alaska. From offering paddleboards, tents, and mountain bike rentals to making dozens of exciting clubs such as Gaming Club, Film Club, and Orchestra accessible, the institution knows how to appeal to people on a personal level. Enriching experiences await those who begin their careers and journeys from the University of Alaska Southeast.
The four-year college has a B rating on Niche.com. It earned an A- in Diversity and a B+ in Academics. UAS has an acceptance rate of 71 percent and costs over $30,000 to attend. Scholarship opportunities are available for students wanting to defray the cost of higher education. Interested persons can look into them by visiting the college’s website.