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Best Online Colleges in Alaska

Distance learning has become a fully-integrated and sizable component of college life in the United States. Considering Alaska’s large size and tiny population, you’d be right to assume that the online classroom would play an especially important role in Alaska’s postsecondary education environment. Read on to discover what online college options Alaska has to offer, and what you need to do to find, apply for, and successfully complete the online program that’s right for you.

Accredited Online Colleges in Alaska

Given the limited number of Alaska postsecondary institutions offering distance learning programs and courses, any list of bests – like “the best accredited online colleges in Alaska” or “the best affordable online colleges in Alaska” – is bound to be somewhat repetitive. Nevertheless, we’ve compiled the following rankings based on a variety of relevant factors to provide students with a clearer understanding of the quality online options available from Alaska’s colleges and universities, so students can see which schools stand out above the rest.

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number University Score Cost Graduation Rate Location University Information
1 University of Alaska Fairbanks 100.00 $$$$$ 37% Fairbanks, AK

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is located in beautiful Fairbanks, Alaska. Founded in 1917, the school's faculty population is about 560. Its student population is approximately 2,500, which includes part-time and full-time students. Class sizes are smaller than what is found at many other schools. Generally, the faculty to student ratio is about 1-to-11. Popular majors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are biological sciences, mechanical engineering, computer science, business administration and general studies. The best online college in Alaska grants short courses that lead to occupational endorsements and certificates. Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees are awarded online in homeland security, psychology, applied business and education. Blackboard is one of the first portals that students log into when they start studying or submitting class materials.

2 Alaska Pacific University 99.69 $$$$$ 40% Anchorage, AK

Alaska Pacific University , located in a forest along Anchorage’s system of trails, is a private liberal arts university founded in 1957. Students can choose among a dazzling range of academic disciplines leading to certificates as well as bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Popular online program offerings include classes in business administration, Alaska Native history and culture, statistics, psychology, religious studies and English. Online courses are delivered via the Blackboard class management system. All of APU’s programs integrate five key competencies that build student's critical skills and the knowledge base necessary to succeed in their careers. Students may qualify for scholarships offered by Alaska industries including finance, fisheries, education and outdoor recreation.

3 University of Alaska Southeast 98.57 $$$$$ 12% Juneau, AK

The University of Alaska Southeast's Juneau campus is located along the Tongass National Forest near the Juneau Icefield in the heart of Alaska's Inside Passage. UAS's two other campuses are located on neighboring islands, Sitka and Ketchikan. UAS's online degree programs connect students with courses, educators and research opportunities that would be otherwise out of reach. Remote courses are comprised of web or video and audio conferencing and lead to occupational endorsements, certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's and master's degrees, and graduate certificates. Online students are supported by toll-free admissions counseling, faculty advising, tutoring and digital library services. Some programs may include internships or practicum sessions held on campus or at other physical locations.

4 University of Alaska Anchorage 96.87 $$$$$ 28% Anchorage, AK

With more than 100 degree and certificate programs, the University of Alaska Anchorage Is the largest of the three members of the University of Alaska system, graduating more than 2,000 students last year. Students near and far can complete certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and occupational endorsements entirely online or through blended formats that include campus visits. Online undergraduate and graduate programs are offered through the Community and Technical College, College of Health, College of Engineering, College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business. Whether they take classes on campus or online, all students receive a UAOnline account to register for classes, pay bills, check on financial aid or view their grades. Still not sure if UAA is the right school? Take advantage of their online Virtual Viewbook, which gives prospective students a personalized and inside look at UAA.

Online Colleges in Alaska

As might be expected, Alaska’s population supports only a small number of colleges and universities within its borders, which in turn means a limited number of schools offering distance learning programs. Fortunately, the programs that are available are relatively robust. At the core of distance education in the state is the University of Alaska System. The UA System consists of three main university campuses – UA Anchorage, UA Fairbanks, and UA Southeast – along with 13 satellite and affiliated community college campuses located throughout the state. Together, the main UA campuses offer over 100 undergraduate, graduate, certificate and occupational endorsement programs, as well as hundreds of courses, all of which may be completed either entirely online or in a blended format.

Among other schools offering distance learning degree and course options are Alaska Pacific University, a small, private liberal arts college located in Anchorage, and Iḷisaġvik College, a public community college located in Barrow.

Alaska is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a non-profit organization that facilitates cooperation between 15 western states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to provide a range of services to its members and their students. Three important WICHE programs for students are the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), and the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP). Under the WEU, students from outside Alaska can enroll in Alaska public postsecondary schools for a reduced tuition cost of 150% of the in-state resident rate. The WRGP offers certain graduate students the opportunity to enroll in Alaska grad programs at the in-state tuition rate. PSEP students pay a reduced tuition for selected professional healthcare programs.

Distance Education in Alaska By the Numbers

A recent report by the U.S. Department of Education showed that nearly 6,000 students in Alaska took at least one of their courses online in 2012, and that roughly 2,700 of degree-/certificate-seeking students in the state were enrolled exclusively online. Let’s look at more detailed data about the state of online learning in Alaska.

4,106 undergrads were enrolled exclusively online
91.4% of full-time undergrad students lived in Alaska
38.4% of graduate students were enrolled online only
15% of 2-year students enrolled in at least one online class