UAA says it’s back to campus for students this fall

by Green & Gold News  |   

University of Alaska Anchorage leaders announced they are planning for a fully operational fall ’21 semester. In email messages to students and employees, administrators said the Anchorage campus will be open to all faculty, staff and students beginning Aug. 2 in advance of Aug. 23 classes. In the interim, employees will begin returning to on-campus work in late May and June to prepare for fall in-person operations. As these operations resume,  those vaccinated against COVID-19 will not have to wear masks in compliance with recent CDC guidelines.

“There has never been a better time to attend UAA than this fall,” said UAA Interim Chancellor Bruce Schultz. “UAA anticipates receiving more than $10 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to award to registered students this coming academic year as scholarships and grants. The fall semester is an excellent time for students to return to school to enhance existing skills or retrain so they are qualified for the best jobs in our recovering economy.”

Lora Volden, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said UAA will work to meet students where they are. Academic advisors and financial aid counselors stand ready to help students adjust their course schedules and find ways to finance their education.

“We are excited to serve students face-to-face again,” said Volden. “We also recognize new or improved virtual offerings have provided greater flexibility to students to meet with a financial aid counselor during their lunch hour or learn how to file their FAFSA during an evening workshop from the comfort of their home. This won't stop once campus is fully operational because we know students will need or want flexibility in how they receive this support.”

As Volden noted, that can happen face-to-face or virtually. Opportunities for financial assistance include not only need-based grants but also scholarships.

UAA’s 49th Finishers Scholarship was so successful during the ’20-21 academic year, the university has opted to continue it and expand it to include students at its community campuses and those pursuing associate degrees. The scholarship is available to Alaska residents who have earned college credits but either studied elsewhere or took a break from school to focus on family, work or other endeavors. Students are automatically considered for this scholarship when they fill out a FAFSA and apply for fall 2021 admission by June 15. The scholarship is renewable for students who remain continuously enrolled, providing up to $8,000 in total assistance toward a bachelor’s degree or $4,000 toward an associate degree.

Seawolf Start Scholarships help first-time students with $500 toward tuition costs. To be eligible, new students must be admitted to a degree-seeking program for fall 2021 and register for a minimum of three credit hours at UAA by July 1.

Due to delays in the rollout of the military’s new tuition assistance system, UAA Military and Veteran Student Services partnered with the university’s financial aid office to provide free courses to students at any UAA campus who planned to use the military’s tuition assistance benefit to attend summer courses.

Opportunities also exist for qualifying students who wish to live on campus to receive scholarships toward housing and meal plans. These discounts will reduce the overall cost of living on campus and help to combat hunger and food insecurity among the student population. Beginning this fall, active duty military and National Guard will have their undergraduate tuition capped at $250 per credit hour and all student fees waived.

In addition, the Municipality of Anchorage allocated an additional $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward UAA’s Fast Track Career Certificates designed to help Alaskans retool quickly and acquire new skills to reenter the workforce or energize their current career.

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