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Alaska Universities, Accredited Colleges, and Degrees

Alaska is one of the nation's least populated states. As such, its higher education system is comprised of six four-year colleges and universities as well as five technical and community colleges. All colleges in Alaska are monitored and managed by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. This board has several responsibilities that affect colleges and universities in Alaska, as well as students who attend said schools. Its primary responsibilities include making high school students aware of their postsecondary options, providing information about postsecondary education, financial aid, and planning for college, as well as working as a consumer protection agent by investigating and approving institutions and their practices.

Accredited Colleges & Universities in Alaska

The four-year universities and colleges in Alaska with the highest enrollment include the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The University of Alaska in Anchorage was founded in 1954. It is ranked No. 58 in the west by U.S. News & World Report and is a publicly funded university. The University Alaska Fairbanks is also a public university and was founded in 1917. It is highly involved in the education of Alaskan Natives.

Alaska created or is involved with several higher education initiatives. First, the state has been a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) since 1955. This commission is composed of 16 states and works to increase the rate at which students have access to and are successful in higher education. As part of this commission, Alaska participates in the Internet Course Exchange (ICE) program, which enables students to take uncommon, special interest distance courses from participating ICE members in and out of the state. Alaska also participated in the commission's Building the Foundation: Early Interventions for Access and Success. This was an event in which professionals presented programs and tactics for educating low-income students about higher education; the end goal of this event was to better equip states in increasing the rate at which residents enter and graduate from postsecondary schools.

Alaska also created the Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN). This network was specifically designed to address education as it relates to American Indians and Alaska Natives. ANKN created the Consortium for Alaska Native Higher Education (CANHE), which consists of various nonprofit Alaska Native organizations. All of these organizations work together to change postsecondary education in the state to better suit the needs of Alaska Natives as well as increase the success rate for Alaska Natives in higher education. One example of this programs success is the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This university offers bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. programs in Alaska Native-related subjects on-campus as well as through distance education.

Accredited Community Colleges in Alaska

Community colleges in Alaska are another popular option for those students seeking higher education. Community and technical colleges in Alaska offer students the opportunity to earn their associate degree or their basic education, which can be transferred to four-year colleges in Alaska or out-of-state universities. One of the largest community colleges in Alaska is the University of Alaska Anchorage Community and Technical College. It offers various certificate, associate degree, and bachelor's degree options to students in Alaska.

Junior colleges in Alaska are participants of the nationwide Plus 50 Initiative. This initiative was established to help adults aged 50 and older obtain professional certificates and degrees that enable them to develop the skills necessary to participate in today's workforce. Community colleges in Alaska also offer online education programs in order to make higher education readily available to all residents. The University of Alaska Anchorage Community and Technical College is one such community college; as part of the University of Alaska system, it offers online courses through UAOnline.

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