Since 1955, Alaska has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.


Download the factsheet for Alaska here.




by Alaska students through WICHE Student Access Programs


through WUE


through WRGP

WICHE’s Student Access Programs

WICHE operates three Student Access Programs that together saved students $613 million in 2023-24. Each program supports students at each level of postsecondary education: undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare studies.

  • Students gain from increased choice and savings.
  • Schools gain by optimizing enrollments.
  • States and Pacific Island members gain by growing the skills of those they serve and strengthening their workforce.

With no architecture programs in my home state, seeking a degree out-of-state was inevitable. WRGP made my education more affordable and provided a dynamic and diverse learning environment that has enriched my educational experience. I recommend WICHE’s Student Access Programs to anyone looking to reduce or avoid student loans.

PAUL, Alaska resident, Master of Architecture, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Improving Lives in Alaska

WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Learn more about our mission.


WICHE brings together senior academic leaders to foster dialogue about issues facing individual institutions through its leadership and professional development networks.



  • Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Alaska Southeast
  • University of Alaska System

Denise Runge, University of Alaska, is a member of the Forum executive committee.

WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY is a year-long professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region. Nine cohort members from Alaska institutions have participated in the Academy since its inception in 2015.

NO HOLDING BACK The University of Alaska Southeast is one of 12 WICHE institutions that participated in a community of practice in which institutions analyzed data and revised policies related to transcript and student holds in 2022-2023.

Thanks to collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), one of four U.S. regional higher education compacts, WICHE-region educational institutions, nonprofits, and public education entities can benefit from three programs: MHECtech, which provides competitively bid purchasing contracts for an array of hardware, software, and technology services; MHECare, which provides a student health insurance plan and teletherapy services; and a MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, which offers risk transfer and advisory solutions. Learn more.

Alaska participates in the STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT (SARA) through WICHE. This voluntary agreement provides reciprocity for the state authorization of distance education.

WICHE ACADEMY FOR LEADERS IN THE HUMANITIES is a leadership development program for aspiring academic leaders with a background in the humanities. The two-year fellowship consists of campus-based and external mentoring, a three-day in-person seminar, and an extended project. Ian Hartman, University of Alaska Anchorage, is participating in the 2023-25 cohort.

WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) contracts with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Behavioral Health, and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, to support the Alaska Psychology Internship Consortium (AK-PIC).

BHP, in collaboration with the Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant to evaluate the behavioral health aid program focusing on efficacy, implementation, and best practices.

The BHP Together With Veterans Program, focused on reducing Veteran suicides, also has one site in Juneau, Alaska, and has served nearly 890 rural veterans from that area.

Knocking at the College Door is the leading U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. Knocking, which includes a quadrennial publication with additional analysis, is essential for postsecondary policymakers, planning and workforce efforts, and economic development.

WICHE offers curated data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making:

CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICERS NETWORK Staff from the University of Alaska system office and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education also participate in regular collaborative calls with colleagues around the region.

WCET- The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies is the leader in practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET members include:

  • Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks

Additionally, the University of Alaska Anchorage is a member of the State Authorization Network (SAN), which helps guide institutions through state regulations around online courses and programs.

WICHE has convened the OERWest Network, which is part of a nationwide collaborative to scale the development and adoption of free course materials. Open educational resources (OER) have shown promise in improving student outcomes, particularly for poverty-affected students, for whom the high cost of textbooks can be a barrier to postsecondary success.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

Tom Begich

Executive Director, Nick Begich Scholarship Intern Fund

* Pearl Brower

President and CEO, Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation

Sean Parnell

Chancellor, University of Alaska Anchorage

Legislative Advisory Committee

Justin Ruffridge

Representative, Alaska State Legisalture

Loki Tobin

Senator, Alaska State Legisalture