Scholarships & Financial Aid
Scholarships & Financial Aid
There are many affordable pathways to a teaching career in Alaska, from scholarships, to student loan forgiveness programs
There are hundreds of scholarships available for University of Alaska students, including some that are directly related to teacher education. The UA Foundation offers more than $3 million in scholarship awards annually, making higher education possible for any student who seeks it.
Scholarships can be used to pay for tuition, housing, books and other costs related to college. Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, community involvement and other achievements. Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need and require completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
College scholarships are awarded by the federal government, state agencies, universities, Alaska Native corporation foundations, private organizations and other donors. The donor or department funding the scholarship typically sets the criteria for how it’s awarded.
When and how do I apply for financial aid?
Apply for financial aid or scholarships after submitting an application for admission, being accepted to a degree program, and registering for classes. Financial aid offices at each university have resources and personalized assistance to help you through the process.
The first step is always to file a FAFSA.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for federal grants and loans, state grants and scholarships, and private scholarships. The FAFSA should be submitted every year and is available October 1 for the following fall. We recommend completing before February 15 to be considered for all scholarships. The state of Alaska requires the FAFSA by June 30 for state aid, including the Alaska Performance Scholarship.
- UAA FAFSA school code: 011462
- UAF FAFSA school code: 001063
- UAS FAFSA school code: 001065
Learn more about Scholarships and Financial Aid through the university offices.
Additional Scholarships Just for Education Majors
PITAAS: Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools
Alaska needs more Alaska Native teachers
- In Alaska schools, Alaska Natives make up 25% of the student body and less than 5% of the teaching force.
- In 2000, the University of Alaska Southeast created the PITAAS Program to increase the number of Alaska Native teachers and administrators in Alaska schools, preschool through high school.
Eligible students receive a scholarship that generally covers:
- tuition and fees for courses required for eligible programs
- a modest stipend each semester intended to offset book costs ($100/course for undergraduates and $200/course for graduate students)
- a housing stipend ($3,000/semester) for full-time students
Students must have junior/senior undergraduate status or be enrolled in a graduate program, be pursuing an education degree program at UAS, and have and maintain a 3.0+ GPA.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is available to certain School of Education (SOE) graduate students and special education undergraduate bachelor degree students.
In exchange for receiving a TEACH grant, you must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students.
If you're enrolled full-time, you can receive up to $4,000 each year in TEACH Grant funds, up to a maximum of:
- $16,000 for undergraduate and/or post baccalaureate study, and
- $8,000 for graduate study.
If you're enrolled less than full-time, the maximum TEACH Grant amount you can receive each year will be less. Your school will tell you the actual amount of TEACH Grant funds you qualify to receive each year.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs
Most rural, and many urban Alaska schools with low income populations are eligible for various teacher loan forgiveness incentives. There is a database of which schools qualify as "low income" by year.
There are very specific criteria that allow some teachers in low income schools to get part or all of their loans paid off. The rules vary by loan type, certification area, school, and number of years you teach there, but range from $5,000 to 100% of your student loans forgiven or canceled.
This is not just for new teachers. The list that U.S. TCLI keeps goes back to 1998. You can get credit for service in eligible schools that you've worked in since 1998.
All of these programs place the burden on the teacher to pursue the right forms from your bank and the student aid offices of the schools you were enrolled in at the time of the loan. You then have to track down the certifying official in the school district you worked for in those years, and get their signature. It's usually the HR Director, Business Manager or Superintendent who will need to sign.
The "Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory" database annually lists the public and private nonprofit elementary and secondary schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education as having a high concentration of students from low-income families.
Most of Alaska is represented on the approved list. The number of Alaska schools eligible for TCLI designation does not vary much year-to-year, but there are some slight differences, so you must actually verify a school's status for each year you work there. Be aware that although the vast majority of rural Alaska schools qualify, there are exceptions in communities where parental income statistics are skewed by commercial fishing or other sources of income.
Other Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs
- Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program - Almost all teachers in TCLI schools benefit, even during the first two years, and you can have up to 100% "canceled"!
- Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program - Between $5,000 (everyone) and $17,500 (Special Ed, HS Math & Science) forgiven if in TCLI qualified school with 30% or more poverty level. Most rural Alaska schools will qualify.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program - Aimed at public service employees, but school teachers count. If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
PSLF forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.