Alaska with its crisp clean air, breathtaking scenery, and host of adventure activities, is becoming an attractive destination for higher education. Of the eight Alaskan universities well regarded for courses ranging from medicine to teaching, five are privately run.
Students in Alaska’s colleges and universities enjoy superb quality of life given the variety of outdoor pursuits and leisure activities available there. However, the biggest advantage of education in Alaska is the personalized attention that students get because of the small class size. Student populations in Alaskan educational institutions range from below 100 to over 15,000. Averaging at about $3,840 per year in terms of cost of education, Alaska is a more pocket-friendly option than most parts of America.
The five best are:
1. University of Alaska, founded in 1922, is a pioneering institution for education in Alaska with a flagship campus at Fairbanks and satellite campuses at Anchorage and Juneau. Serving over 10,000 students, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks offers nearly 167 degrees and since Alaska’s statehood in 1959 is the only one to offer doctoral degrees. The University of Alaska, Fairbanks draws on the region’s sub-oceanic climate and its proximity to the Arctic Circle for its focus on Arctic and northern research.
2. University of Alaska, Anchorage has grown from a community college in 1954 to be the largest university in Alaska with over 15,000 students. Located in Southern Alaska’s industrial city of Anchorage, the University of Alaska Anchorage is recognized for its program in aviation technology and affords its students a more amenable oceanic climate and access to industries.
3. University of Alaska, Southeast at Juneau is a new institution. Founded in 1972, it has over 2,700 students at the undergraduate level on campus with many more enrolled through distance education and community colleges. Located in the southeast extreme of Alaska, the institution's academic programs focus on the unique flora, fauna, sea, and terrain of this part of the country.
4. Alaska Pacific University is a 500-student Methodist institution and part of the elite Eco League. Set up in 1957, this institution offers a study of 12 majors at the undergraduate level and has a master’s program that is ranked highly and has a strong environmental focus.
5. Alaska Bible College at Glennallen is a private institution without denomination devoted to theological and Christian education offering a four-year program at the Bachelor’s level in addition to an Associate degree.
Other private colleges and universities in Alaska include: Sheldon Jackson College, the Wayland Baptist University, and the Saint Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Alaskan colleges offer a unique opportunity for education through both the community college and the university system.
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