Alaska scholarships and grants can make getting an education in Alaska more affordable. Many grants and scholarships are available based on need or merit, and several are available to students simply because they’re residents of the state and are attending in-state colleges and universities. Here are some of the main Alaska financial aid options and how you can apply for these scholarships and grants:
- Alaska Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
This grant is based both on academic merit and need. Only students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant can qualify for this program. Students must also have completed a rigorous high school education including four years of English, three years of math, three years of science, three years of social studies, and one year of a foreign language. The educational requirements are determined by the Secretary of Education or the local educational agency. Students must have completed their high school careers with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Students who are awarded the grant are eligible for up to $750 during the first year of postsecondary study and up to $1,300 the second year, provided the first year is successful. The award is only eligible to full-time students who are taking at least twelve credit hours per semester.
In order to determine eligibility for this award, students must completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Each year, the FAFSA deadline is in early March. The earlier a student fills out the FAFSA the better. When students are determined to be eligible for a Pell Grant by the federal government, the ACG scholarship may be added to the funds, provided the student meets the academic requirements for the award.
- Gear Up Alaska Scholarship
The GEAR UP Alaska scholarships are federally funded scholarships available to students who are residents of Alaska and who have participated in the GEAR UP program in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Each district in the program sets academic milestones for its participants, and students who meet these milestones may be eligible for GEAR UP scholarships when they embark on undergraduate study.
In order to use their GEAR UP funds, students must be a high school senior in Alaska, have an Alaska diploma, or take the GED. Students must start college before they turn twenty-two, and they must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year to determine their eligibility for the program. Students who demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA will be eligible for the awards.
This scholarship grants up to $7,000 per academic year for full-time students and up to $3,500 per academic year to part-time students. Students can apply for the scholarship for up to four years of undergraduate study.
To get started in this program, students must join the GEAR UP initiative as 6th graders. If you are unsure about how this program works, contact the ACPE’s GEAR UP Scholarship Coordinator for more details on the program and your child’s potential eligibility.
- Alaska International Education Foundation
The goal of the Alaska International Education Foundation is to bring understanding between the people of Alaska and the people of other nations. One way AIEF does this is through Alaska scholarships and grants. This not-for-profit organization offers several grants and scholarships to education and research students in many different fields.
One of the interesting things about the AIEF grants and scholarships is that they can be used in several different ways. They aren’t for college tuition but are instead meant to fund extra programs and experiences that can further inter-cultural understanding. For instance, the grants can be used to fund research studies between Alaska and foreign nation, workshops on intercultural studies, conference participation, student and faculty exchange programs between Alaska and foreign countries, and study abroad programs for Alaskan students.
The scholarships typically come in two funding periods, but it’s worthwhile to check with the AIEF about application deadlines. Grants and scholarships are available in varying amounts, depending on the project or experience proposed in the grant application.
- Alaska Space Grant Program Fellowships
These interesting Alaska grants are actually for working fellowships for students in the area of aerospace technology. To apply for these fellowships, students must contact lead institutions that are set up to coordinate the various scholarships and fellowships available through ASGP.
To be eligible for fellowships, students should be working on aerospace-related projects that benefit their own professional development as well as the development of better aerospace programs and technology for Alaska. Fellowships of varying sizes are available, depending on the type of project proposed as well as the amount of responsibility the student will have in the project. These are great scholarships for engineering students or those otherwise interested in having a part in developing aerospace technology in Alaska.
- AlaskAdvantage Education Grant
The AlaskAdvantage Education Grant is available to Alaska students who attend Alaska postsecondary educational institutions and who can show some level of financial need. Although this is a need-based program, there are programs within it that focus on students who are enrolled in workforce shortage programs, as determined by the specific needs of the time, and students who are academically exceptional, based on ACT or SAT scores.
These Alaska grants vary from $500 per academic year to $2,000 per academic year. To apply, students must fill out the FAFSA early – by April 15th – each year they are in school. Students will be prioritized based on financial need, and awards will continue to be given out until the funds are exhausted. The awards are renewable as long as students continue to fill out the FAFSA each year in April before the next academic year.
This program is funded by the Alaska Student Loan Corporation and the federal LEAP program. Award availability varies from year to year, but students with demonstrated financial need should certainly consider applying for this award each year by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
You can find out more about Alaska scholarships at www.gov.alaska.gov.