Is UAF worth it? Comparing tuition price and graduation rates nationwide

By Amber Sandlin

Sun Star Reporter

With the high price of going to college, it can be easy to wonder if students are better off staying in Alaska or going to school abroad. Both UAF and UAA maintain a student retention rate greater than 70 percent, but with graduation rates of 23 percent (UAF) and 22 percent (UAA), are students getting their money’s worth here?

Alaskan residents receive about $5,000 off their tuition compared to students transferring from other states. Alaskan residents attending UAF or UAA spend on average $9,961 annually. Kiplinger, a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice published a list of “100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2009-2010”.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was rated the best value with a graduation rate of 74 percent and a retention rate of 96 percent. The report did not list a single campus from the University of Alaska system.

In the northeast, the University of Delaware accepts a little over half the students that apply, at an admission rate of 56 percent and a 4-year graduation rate of 67 percent. In the southeast, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill admission rate is at 34 percent, meaning they are more selective when it comes to prospective students. In the midwest, 42 percent of people who apply to the University of Michigan get accepted and 70 percent of students who attend for four years graduate. In the west, University of California Berkeley sets their admission rate at 22 percent and 90 percent of all students who attend for 4 years graduate from Berkeley with a degree. In the northwest, Washington State University has an admissions rate of 72 percent and for 4-year students, the graduation rate is at 37 percent. Finally, University of Alaska Fairbanks has an admissions rate of 74 percent and a graduation rate of 23 percent.

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