Alaska Financial Aid
Alaska is home to numerous national and state parks and forests that combine to form a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Amidst nature, there are 12 colleges and universities in Alaska and students attending them will probably need some form of financial assistance in order to afford tuition costs. In addition to federal aid, Alaska financial aid may come in the form of private or state administered scholarships or grants and student loans.
Alaska Scholarships and Grants
Alaska students may obtain scholarships and grants from the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE). Some scholarships and grants may be awarded based on the student’s financial need, or by their merit.
Multiple scholarships are offered to meet the variety of student’s needs:
- GEAR UP ALASKA Scholarship Program: Designed for Alaska students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, this program prepares students for college, ensuring that they take the proper courses that will lead to graduation. Upon graduation, students are eligible for scholarships in the amount of $7,000 per academic year.
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program: This scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate significant academic and leadership achievement as determined by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development for Academic Achievement. The scholarship awards $1500 per academic year, and is renewable for up to three years.
- AlaskAdvantage Education Grant: Awards scholarships in the amount of $500 to $2,000 per year for Alaska’s undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
- Alaska Teacher Education Loan: Awards up to $7,500 to Alaska high school graduates interesting in pursuing teaching careers in Alaska rural elementary and secondary schools. Special features of the scholarship include 100% forgiveness.
Scholarships from Alaska Colleges and Universities
Alaska colleges and universities offer their own scholarships to help students with the hefty costs of postsecondary education. These scholarships may be based on merit, financial need, special talent, ethnicity, a combination, or many other criteria.
For example, the University of Alaska offers the Scholars Program, a one-time $11,000 award is based on merit, as students must be in the top 10 percent of graduates from qualifying Alaska high schools.
As most of Alaska is unihabitable, the state's colleges are located in Alaska's major cities. It may also be possible to obtain a greater amount of financial aid in cities that have a larger number of colleges. The five most popular cities to attend college in Alaska are Anchorage, Barrow, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Seward, AK.
Other Scholarships from Alaska
Alaska students who are still in need of financial assistance may apply for scholarships provided by organizations, associations and companies. These scholarships are typically geared towards a specific demographic, so be sure to double-check the eligibility requirements before applying.
- Alaska Geological Society Scholarship: In order to be eligible for this award, students must be pursuing their bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or Ph.D. in geoscience or a similar degree program.
- The Arc of Washington Trust Fund: Each year, up to $4,000 is awarded to upper division undergraduates and graduate students in Washington, Oregon, Alaska or Idaho. Students must demonstrate an interest in research on intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Lori Rhett Memorial Scholarship: Offered to undergraduate and graduate students attending colleges or universities in Alaska. The student must demonstrate leadership abilities and have a GPA of 2.5 or above.
- Western Undergraduate Exchange Program: Alaska residents can enroll in participating state colleges at reduced tuition level.
Alaska Student Loans
Students that have exhausted all of their free money options should look into applying for Alaska student loans. Loans are offered through the state to supplement for federal student loans, and they are also offered by public companies. Alaska offers three loan programs for its residents.
- AlaskAdvantage Loan Program: Designed to supplement Federal loans, when federal aid, scholarships and grants fail to cover the cost of education.
- A.W. “Winn” Brindle Memorial Education Loan: Established in the memory of the former Wards Cove Packing Company and the Columbia Wards Fisheries. Scholarships are offered to Alaska residents who seek full-time study in the fisheries-related programs.
- Michael Murphy Memorial Education Loan: Although this scholarship was established by the Alaska legislature, it is privately funded by donations and annual leave contributions from state employees. This loan is restricted to students pursuing full-time undergraduate study in law enforcement related programs.