Alaska Scholarships and Grants Programs
College is a necessary but incredibly expensive venture for young adults who are about to complete high school but don’t yet have the full education needed to enter the workforce. With college expenses on the rise across the country, students must work to find ways to offset the expense of their education. The good news is that there are many scholarships available; students just need know where to look to find them.
Alaska has a limited number of college and universities due to the state’s relatively small population, coupled with the majority of people residing in rural or remote areas. Schools that do exist are in the larger cities, which is beneficial to students as it gives them a more varied diversity than they may be used to.
There is a big push in the state of Alaska to educate the state’s younger members because it is good for the state’s economy to have a better educated population, in addition to benefiting the state as a whole. The goal is to get college age kids enrolled in continuing education, and with this comes a great number of scholarships and grants. It is important for students to file a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) as many of these programs use these applications for their awards. Students should be sure to apply for FAFSA first, and then look into further programs.
AlaskAdvantage Education Grant
The AlaskAdvantage Education Grant is a very popular state-administered aid for students currently enrolled in a university or college’s undergraduate program, either state funded or private. Alaskan residents may apply, making this a driving force behind the notion of improving the state’s economy by increasing the population’s educated residents. The program’s website explains some specific ways higher education can be beneficial on both the personal and community level, including an increase in health care availability with a decrease in public assistance.
Designed by the state legislature, the AlaskAdvantage program targets students enrolled in undergraduate programs that are in high demand due to workforce shortages. It is based on need and provides financial assistance beyond what is awarded directly from the FAFSA, making the process of applying for AlaskAdvantage easier. This is a popular aid program because it awards renewable grants ranging from $500-$2000 annually, giving students the extra cash they need to keep their education costs down.
There are three federally backed loans that fall underneath the AlaskAdvantage umbrella: a Stafford Loan, a PLUS loan and a consolidation loan. This program prides itself on keeping its loans in-house and serviced within the state, thus benefiting the residents. Students running behind in applying can enjoy a quick turn-around, with approval in as little as two days.
For more information about the AlaskAdvantage Education Grant, please visit their website.
GEAR UP! Alaska Scholarships
GEAR UP! Alaska is a unique not for profit program that gets kids started off on the collegiate path beginning in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, among the most crucial years of early education. This college prep course of study starts in middle school and spans six years, culminating in the award of a government funded scholarship that does not have to be repaid.
Students must be Alaskan residents who meet specific criteria established by the program and be enrolled in higher education in order to be awarded the cash incentives. The GEAR UP! Alaska scholarship awards up to $7000 per academic year, renewable for four years. Students who opt to go to school part time are awarded partial scholarships of up to $3500, making their early efforts worthwhile. Students must be eligible for financial aid, as proven by submitting a FAFSA. The GEAR UP! program attempts to address further the issues of Alaska’s future by focusing on 14 districts and 62 schools that fall at or above 50% poverty.
For more information about GEAR UP! Alaska, please visit the following website: GEAR UP! Website
List of 14 school districts participating in GEAR UP! Alaska:
- Alaska Gateway School District
- Aleutians East Borough School District
- Anchorage School District
- Craig City School District
- Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
- Juneau Borough School District
- Kashunamiut School District
- Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
- Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District
- Kodiak Island Borough School District
- Lower Kuskokwim School District
- Lower Yukon School District
- Southeast Island School District
- St. Mary’s School District
Elmendorf Officer’s Spouse’s Organization Assistance Program
The Elmendorf Officers’ Spouses’ Organization (EOSO) Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors who live in the Anchorage area, and who are the dependents of an active duty military member or retired military member. Rank is not considered in the application process. Students must be US Citizens with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The EOSO Scholarship’s intent is to award funds to students with promising futures as shown by their high school performance. This includes grade point average, student leadership, and allegiance to community and country. This is a one-time scholarship that may not be renewed.
For more information about the Elmendorf Officers’ Spouses’ Organization Assistance Program, please visit their website.
Western Undergraduate Exchange
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program is funded by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), extending scholarships to students in the fifteen western states serviced by WICHE. The goal is to keep students in the same geographic area while allowing them to go to school outside of their home states, thus creating jobs in the Western portion of the United States.
Students awarded funds for this program will receive a tuition rate that is half of the school’s resident rate. Across the geographic span of the program, nearly every field is available for study. All students in the state of Alaska may apply given their location, but must intend to continue their education outside of their home state by attending college in another WICHE state. Applications are processed by and eligibility determined by the individual participating schools and the number of awards are limited.
For more information about the Western Undergraduate Exchange, please visit their website.
University of Alaska Scholars Program
The University of Alaska Scholars is another program with a goal to keep Alaska’s students in their home state, thus enriching the future of the state by strengthening the workforce. The University of Alaska Scholars program awards as many as one thousand scholarships annually to students in the top 10% of their class at the end of their junior year in high school. This gift-based program is very attractive due to the value of the scholarship: $11,000 spread evenly across eight semesters for a total of $1375 per semester within five years.
Students must attend one of the University of Alaska campuses in Anchorage, Juneau or Fairbanks as a full time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5. Scholarship funds may be used for any educational expenses including room and board, undergraduate tuition, books, and any other fees or educational costs.
For more information about the University of Alaska Scholars Program, please visit the following website: Alaska.Edu
The Edward and Anna Range Schmidt Charitable Trust
Established in 1993, the Edward and Anna Range Schmidt Charitable Trust is designed to award promising native Alaskan students who wish to pursue their education in environmental or earth sciences. Focusing on students with financial and social disadvantages, the grant hopes to help the future of Alaska by preparing students for future jobs in preserving the natural resources of the state.
This is not a traditional scholarship or loan; moreover, the funds are to be used to help students with fees incurred by searching for jobs or internships. The trust is administered by the University of Alaska, but students must apply for resources to the not-for-profit trust.
For more information about The Edward and Anna Range Schmidt Charitable Trust, please visit its website.