8 minute read

Alaska Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Although Alaska may be considered The Last Frontier, it certainly is not the last frontier in scholarships and financial aid for students. Alaska scholarships and financial aid packages are available to help you meet your post-secondary education goals. If you’re considering a school in Alaska, you may have the choice of grants, scholarships, loans, or educational credits.

Four Possible Types of Aid for Alaska Students

The type of aid you qualify for depends on your financial need, academic achievement, accomplishments, and interests. There are four main categories of aid available to Alaska students:

  • Federal financial aid
  • Alaska state financial aid and grants
  • Alaska university and college aid programs
  • Outside scholarships and financial aid

Federal Government Provides Financial Aid and Scholarships for Alaska Students

Alaska financial aid packages include national grants and loans from the government. To qualify for these packages, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. How much and how many grants and loans you will be offered will depend on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). That is, how much money you and your parents can contribute to your education. The EFC estimate depends on your income taxes.

There are a number of grants available to low-income students and students with special interests. To see more on these grants and grants in general, go to the stateuniversity.com Guide to Federal Grants. Grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply early. The FAFSA deadline is usually June 30th the year you are receiving aid. However, you may file your FAFSA the January before the year you need aid. The Alaska state deadline for the FAFSA is usually April 15 by midnight Central Daylight Time. Your school may also have a priority deadline. Students who apply by their school’s priority deadline have a better chance of receiving federal student aid. Check with your school to see when its priority deadline is.

Your school’s financial aid office will decide how many loans you can take out. Most loans in Alaska financial aid packages come from the government and include loans that are low-interest. For example, the AlaskaAdvantage Stafford Loan offers in-school rates as low as 5.60% and repayment rates as low as 3.35%.

Alaska state financial aid and scholarships

There are two Alaska grants available to students. The AlaskaAdvantage Education Grant matches funds in the national Leverage Education Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program. This grant provides $500 to $2,000 a year for students with financial need. The Alaska GEAR UP scholarship is available to Alaska students who were involved in the GEAR UP series in middle school (6th, 7th, and 8th grades).

There are three Alaska state loans available to students who are studying in Alaska. They are described in more detail here:

Alaska Teacher Education Loan
The TEL loan was created for high school students who want to pursue a career in teaching. There is no interest on the loan while students are in school. The repayment rate is 7.6%. To qualify for this loan, students must have good credit and be recommended by an accredited school district in Alaska.

Alaska Supplemental Education Loan
This loan was intended supplement unmet needs that are not covered by the AlaskaAdvantage Stafford Loan. The in-school and repayment interest rate is 7.30%. Students can get a 0.50% presence discount for the in-school interest rate and up to 2.75% discount for various reasons for the repayment rate.

A.W. “Winn” Brindle Memorial Education Loan Program
This loan financed by private gifts was created in memory of A.W. “Winn” Brindle. He was head of Wards Cove Packing Company, the oldest seafood corporation owned by a family in Alaska. There is no in-school interest rate and a low repayment rate of 5%. To qualify for this loan students must be an Alaska resident and be studying a program related to fishery.

Students who were foster youths may be eligible to receive a University of Alaska Tuition Waiver or an Education and Training Voucher. Both the waiver and the voucher may be used together for a low-cost education for foster youths. The ETV can also be used with federal student aid for a cost-free education.

Alaska University and College Scholarships

You may qualify for scholarships from your school. Ask your financial aid and scholarship office for a list of scholarships. To be considered for scholarships, most universities and colleges in Alaska require students to submit a FAFSA and a separate scholarship application. For instance, the University of Alaska, Anchorage requires its students to submit the UAA Electronic Scholarship Application. Once submitted, a computer program searches for scholarships that match your qualifications.

Major- or program-specific scholarships, like the Juno Chamber of Commerce Scholarship for business majors at the University of Alaska Southeast, and other private university scholarships usually require an additional application separate from the FAFSA. Your school’s financial aid and scholarship office should have most of the applications.

Alaska merit scholarships usually do not request an individual application. When you apply for admission to the school, you are automatically considered.

Outside Scholarships for Alaska Students

Alaska students have many opportunities for outside scholarships. Outside scholarships are provided by private funders, organizations, associations, and individuals. These scholarships have different requirements, application procedures, and deadlines. Here is a list of some outside scholarships available to Alaska students:

Alaska Community Foundation
The ACF receives funding from a variety of donors and have a number of scholarships available to Alaska students. See each individual scholarship for application, procedures, and deadlines.

The Fund for Veterans’ Education
This scholarship was created to serve veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. Veterans who wish to pursue a post-secondary education at a vocational school or an accredited university or college are eligible to apply. Financial need will be the primary consideration for aid. The application is on the website.

Women Police of Alaska
The WPA scholarships are available to students who are studying a program affiliated with law enforcement. Two Alaska students will be awarded $1,000 each.

Society of Petroleum Engineers, Alaska Section
Several scholarships are available to Alaska high school and college students who are studying or planning to study programs that are associated with petroleum business at an accredited university. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $2,500. Please see the website for current application.

BP America Principals’ and Commissioner’s Scholarship Program
BP America, one of the largest providers of fuel and home energy, has been collaborating with the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals to give 25 scholarships of $4,000 each to 25 graduating Alaska seniors. Out of the 25 seniors, the Commissioner of Education will select one student to give $16,000 as added support, totaling in $20,000. Talk to your principal to request an application. They are available on February 15.

ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. Scholarship Program
ConocoPhillips is a top energy-producing company. The Alaska branch is offering seven scholarships worth $5,000 each for students attending school in Alaska. They are also offering thirteen general scholarships of $3,000 each. Please see the website to download a current application. Applications are usually due in January.

Delta Western, Inc. Scholarship
Delta Western is a fuel and lubricant distributor in Alaska. Their scholarships offer $10,000 to students who demonstrate leadership skills with at least a 3.00 GPA. Students must be planning to enroll in an accredited post-secondary institute. Contact Cayla Lincoln for more information. Her phone number is 206-270-9609×1725 and her email is caylal@deltawestern.com.

If you belong to one of the native tribes of Alaska, you may have other opportunities for scholarships. Here’s a list of some Alaska scholarships that specifically target students who are natives of Alaska:

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
The ANTC is committed to providing the best health services to its patients in Alaska. They offer five $5,000 scholarships to undergraduates and five $5,000 scholarships to graduates for each year in school. Students must be Alaska Native or American Indian and Alaska residents. Contact ANTC for the application. Their address is Alaska Tribal Health Consortium, Division of Human Resources, Education and Development, 4000 Ambassador Drive, Suite 114, Anchorage, Alaska, 99508. You can also call them at (800) 684-8361.

Indian Health Service Scholarship Program
Students who are of American Indian or Alaska Native background are qualified for the Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship, Health Professions Pre-Graduate Scholarship, or Health Professions Scholarship. All three scholarships were created to support American Indian/Alaska Natives who want to pursue a career in health. For an application handbook, click here.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
AISES has three scholarships available to students of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian heritage. Students must be studying programs in computer science or technology. For an application, contact Tina Pino at (505) 765-1052 x105 or email her at tina@aises.org.

Association on American Indian Affairs
The AAIA provides scholarships to full-time American Indian or Alaska Native students who are attending an accredited post-secondary institution. AAIA scholarships are given on a one-year basis. Eligible students should submit a completed application package to be considered for available scholarships. Contact Lisa Wyzlic for more information: 240-341-7155 or lw.aaia@verizon.net.

Three Things to Keep in Mind about Alaska Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Alaska financial aid includes grant and low-interest direct loan programs from the federal government. Take advantage of those options before settling on a loan.
  • If you belong to an American Indian or Alaska Native tribe, you may qualify for more scholarships. Check with your school’s scholarships office.
  • If you are taking out an Alaska state loan or a federal loan, remember that each loan has a different in-school interest rate and a different payback rate.

Additional topics

Financial-Aid Articles