The University of Alaska is trying a new program aimed at bringing students from the Lower 48 with family ties in Alaska to head north.
This fall will see the beginning of a new two year program called “Come Home to Alaska.” Out of state students applying to the University of Alaska will be able to pay in state tuition if they have parents or grandparents that are residents of the state. This program would save an out of state student over $13,000 for 30 undergraduate credits per year.
Public affairs director with the University of Alaska System Kate Ripley says the university has seen a slight decrease in attendance.
“And that is primarily because of the number of high school graduates peaked several years ago. And those numbers are down and they are predicted to be down for a number of years until the 2020s so there is a smaller pool that we can draw from for potential full time students. So students living outside the state with these family connections inside the state just makes sense.”
Ripley says although the university does want to draw outside students into the system, the idea isn’t to teach them only so they take those skills back to their home state.
“And what we really try to be is Alaska’s university for Alaskan employers. And there’s a lot of public and private employers in Alaska and as a state university we try to partner with those employers so that we’re providing them the workforce training or higher education that’s needed for the jobs in Alaska. So I think that will continue to be our focus.”
“Come Home” applies to undergrads and graduate students. The current undergrad surcharge for out of state students is $444 per credit and $420 per credit for graduate students. Ripley believes this program will help Alaska get some more attention on the educational stage.
“Well it’s something that was seen as an innovative tool in the tool box, another way to entice people who have ties to Alaska to come here and attend schools in Alaska. We really do have a top notch university, we have a lot of programs and our resident program is really one of the most affordable in the country at a public university.”
Ripley says the point is not to rely completely on these out of state students for a boost in enrollment. Currently only 11 percent of the students enrolled in the UA system are from out of state. Those students will be grandfathered into the program and won’t have to pay the out of state tuition for the next two years. For more information on who qualifies for the program, students should contact the advisor in the program they are interested in.