Alaska is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and thriving oil industry. However, when it comes to evaluating its educational institutions, there is one university that has garnered a less than stellar reputation.
The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) finds itself at the bottom of the list among Alaskan colleges, as indicated by multiple sources, including Academicful, Career Guide, and Alot Education. What contributes to UAA’s less-than-flattering reputation? Here are several factors that shed light on this matter.
Low Graduation Rate
A key measure of a college’s quality is its graduation rate, indicating how many students successfully complete their degree programs within a reasonable time frame. UAA lags in this department with a disheartening graduation rate of just 31%.
This figure means that only about one-third of its students manage to graduate within six years, significantly below the national average of 62% and the state average of 41%. A variety of factors contribute to students dropping out of UAA, including academic challenges, financial constraints, and personal issues.
High Cost of Attendance
Another critical element in assessing a college’s quality is the cost of attendance, encompassing tuition, fees, books, supplies, accommodation, meals, and other related expenses. UAA stands out for its elevated cost of attendance when compared to other institutions in Alaska and across the nation.
According to College Factual, UAA’s annual cost of attendance for in-state students stands at $22,320, which is 17% higher than the state average and 8% higher than the national average. For out-of-state students, the costs are even steeper, at $34,720, marking a 38% increase over the state average and a 24% increase over the national average. This places a substantial financial burden on UAA students and their families.
Poor Academic Quality
The academic quality of a college is another crucial factor reflecting its effectiveness in preparing students for future careers and advanced education. UAA’s academic quality falls short when compared to other institutions in Alaska and across the country.
According to Niche, UAA receives an overall academic grade of C+, which considers factors such as faculty quality, curriculum, available majors, class sizes, student-faculty ratios, and student feedback.
The university’s academic quality is especially wanting in certain programs, including education and engineering, which have lost their accreditation in recent years due to subpar standards and performance. This lackluster academic quality compromises the educational outcomes and career prospects of UAA students.
UAA’s standing as the lowest-ranked college in Alaska is substantiated by several sources. Its underwhelming graduation rate, high cost of attendance, and lackluster academic quality make it an unappealing option for prospective students seeking a quality education in the state.
Alaska offers superior alternatives, such as the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), which boasts a higher graduation rate, lower costs, and a more robust academic standing than UAA. To regain credibility and restore its reputation as a respected higher education institution, UAA must make significant improvements in its standards and performance.