Even though Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. in terms of area, it is one of the least populated. Due to the great distances between cities, lack of roads, vast wilderness areas, and harsh winter climate, travel across Alaska can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. These obstacles present several challenges for those who want to further their education in Alaska. Online or distance learning can be extremely helpful for both students and working professionals. Distance learning technology has helped rural Alaskans to expand their educational horizons and network with each other.
Only eight degree-granting institutions serve the sparsely populated state. Within this small group of colleges and universities, there are even fewer online colleges in Alaska. However, this does not mean that distance learning does not exist. There are several online schools in Alaska that offer educational programs from the certificate level all the way through the doctoral level. Through its state university system, Alaska boasts the University of Alaska Online (UAOnline). Within this network, students can take classes without having to leave home. Prospective students can select programs tailored to the unique culture and needs of Alaskans. UAOnline maintains an open door policy and allows anyone to enroll in distance learning as non-degree-seeking students. Several Alaska schools also offer flexible online certificates and degrees.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Alaska:
We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Alaska, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Alaska may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Alaska.
The Best Online Colleges in Alaska
1. University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, founded in 1917, is one of a handful of land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant colleges in the United States. The university also contributes to Oregon State University’s sun-grant program. The university offers 190 degree programs in over 120 disciplines. University of Alaska Fairbanks is home to nine academic schools.
The university offers a variety of bachelor, master and associate’s degrees online, as well as a number of professional certificates and occupations endorsements. Bachelor’s degree offerings include business, criminal justice and homeland security. Available master’s degree programs include business and design. Obtainable associate’s degrees include arts and accounting, while available certificate programs include bookkeeping, medical billing and medical coding.
Online students have access to an online information directory, writing center, math lab and two extensive collections of video tutorials on how to use various computer programs. Students also have access to online library services, including several academic journals and databases.
University of Alaska Fairbanks is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2. University of Alaska Southeast
The University of Alaska Southeast was established when the University of Alaska Juneau, Islands Community College and Ketchikan Community College all unified in 1987. The University has nearly 4,000 students, 4 academic colleges, which are the colleges of arts and sciences, career education, management and education, 41 degree programs including undergraduate and graduate offerings, 18 certificate programs and 16 occupational endorsements.
The University of Alaska Southeast’s online offerings cover a wide swath of academia. Online associate’s degree options include science, business administration and law enforcement. Available bachelor’s degrees include liberal arts, special education and human resources. The university provides master’s degrees in several subjects in education, as do many of its certification programs. It also offers occupational endorsements in finance and the maritime industry.
Online students have access to a substantial database of academic journal articles online. They also have access to free online tutoring.
University of Alaska Southeast is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
3. University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage is a more recently established university founded in 1954. The campus includes these academic colleges: Education, health, arts and sciences, business, engineering and a technical college. It boasts over 15,000 students and features a 3 + 3 program for law school students.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks currently offers 20 online degree programs, including associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees as well as certificate and post-baccalaureate programs, some of which have a face-to-face component. Associate’s degrees include general education and occupational health and safety. Certificates available online include corrections, medical coding and pharmacy. Available post-baccalaureate programs include psychiatry, education and nursing.
Online students have access to Distance Student Services, which conducts online test proctoring and acts as an advocate and liaison for all online students. There is also online academic advising, tutoring, disability services, an online library and an article database.
University of Alaska Anchorage is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
4. Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Methodist University was founded in 1957 and restructured in 1978 to become Alaska Pacific University. Located on a 175-acre campus in a forested area of Anchorage, the school boasts proximity to the city’s award-winning trail system. Just under 600 students attend APU, 250 of them undergraduates. Fewer students has resulted in smaller class sizes and a low 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
This online school in Alaska is currently expanding its distance learning options. Several APU programs offer online courses to serve the needs of working and rural students. APU created an 18-credit undergraduate certificate in rural management to build networks of leaders in Alaska’s rural communities. This program features synchronous evening courses. APU also offers an online master’s in counseling psychology and an online business degree.
Alaska Pacific University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).