Alaska State Grants & Scholarships

student aid formThe State of Alaska has fewer grants available than many other states because of a number of factors. The population is small, it doesn’t have large cities, and much of the population is located in isolated rural areas. Nevertheless, there are some top-rated Alaska state grants that are providing funds and opportunities for educational, environmental, and heritage projects and programs.

CIRI (Cook Inlet Region Inc.) Foundation

CIRI (Cook Inlet Region Inc.) Foundation has recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Since its inception in 1982, this foundation has been providing Alaska Natives and their descendants living in the Cook Inlet area, with the opportunity to maintain cultural pride and traditions.

Goals of CIRI Foundation

• This foundation strives to encourage education and life careers by awarding higher education scholarships and providing funds for research and educational projects.

• They encourage appreciation of the long heritage of the Cook Inlet Region inhabitants, and the maintenance of this rich heritage. This includes emphasis on bringing understanding to all Alaska residents and to those beyond the borders of Alaska.

• The Foundation uses publications and media production to keep the traditions alive and to foster appreciation and understanding of Alaska Native culture.

Funding of the CIRI Foundation

This foundation is non-profit so it is exempt from federal income tax. Money donated from private sources provides the majority of monetary funds. They also receive earnings from their endowments. From the time this foundation was begun in 1982, they have given grants of more than $17.6 million to Alaska Natives for post-secondary education, and $1.8 million has been awarded to non-profit organizations benefiting Alaska Natives and all Alaskans.

More information can be found at www.the cirifoundation.org

Alaska State Museum Organization

The Alaska State Museum organization, which is funded by the state legislature, awards grants to Alaska museums and museum-related agencies for projects. Each museum or agency is restricted to one grant per year.

Limits of Grants

• Museums may apply for grants of up to $10,000 or a mini-grant for up to $2,000. On occasion the grant award letter may state stipulations on the details and the cost of the project.

• The funds received may be used to buy materials, equipment, personal or contractual services and anything else that is needed to support and improve museum services.

There are certain items and services that specifically cannot be funded by the grant funds. They include restoring historic sites and structures, buying acquisitions, payment for employees, continuing education and administrative costs. Careful attention needs to be taken to keep budgets reasonable. Museums should only apply for money that will reasonably be needed for the projects.

Applicant’s Qualifications

• The museum must be legally organized, non-profit and educational in its mission.
• It needs to use, display and interpret tangible items for the public to observe.
• Museums must be regularly open to the public, not less than 90 days a year. It must also be advertised to the public.
• At least one person must be employed full-time, either paid or unpaid. Their main duty is to care for and publicly exhibit items by the museum.
• They must abide by proper grand accounting and maintain an itemized record of budget.
• They cannot be a state or federal entity,

Museums that are interested in receiving assistance in planning and writing a grant can make use of the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) or Curator Assessment Program (CAP). The American Association of Museums and Heritage Preservation are very helpful in succeeding in getting an award. For more information contact the Curator of Museum Services, Scott Carrlee, at email: scott.carrlee@alaska.gov.

Alaska Library Assistance Grants

This funding organization awards numerous grants to public libraries. The funds are used for a wide variety of programs.

1. Public Library Assistance Grants

Public libraries as well as combined school public libraries can apply for these grants. They may apply each year as long as they abide by the eligibility requirements. Libraries may use the funds for paying staff, buying books and other materials, and paying for necessary daily costs of operation.

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2. Interlibrary Cooperation Grants

These grants are limited. They fund grants that have a direct influence for library users for the entire state. All types and sizes of libraries are encouraged to apply. Some examples of the type of grants given are reading incentive programs, computers and printers and development of special programs for all library users.

3. Continuing Education Grants

With funds from these grants, staff of public libraries and school libraries are awarded grants that reimburse them for money spent on training classes. In addition to classes, events or conferences are included. The costs should not exceed $1,000 for in-state training, and two training sessions are allowed per qualifying library.

4. Public School Library Grants

In 2008 the Alaska State Legislature authorized a School Library Collection Development grant for every public school with a library program. A list has been created of public schools that are eligible. Grants will be awarded to individual schools and are to be used to purchase resources for their libraries. The libraries will receive about $3,000 annually. It is an on-going grant and will be significant over the years.

5. The Alaska OWL (Online with Libraries) Project

This is a fairly new grant. It is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce BTOP Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Library. The purpose of these grants is to improve library computer technology to provide all Alaskans with the opportunity to use high speed Internet.

Benefits include providing faster service to rural areas, purchasing more computers, and providing opportunities for distance learners to pursue education and employment.

Every year, the Alaska State Legislature designates funds to the State Library to be used for grants to public libraries and combined school libraries. The State Library uses 95% of the fund amount for public library assistance grants. The money is divided among the eligible libraries, each receiving from $6,200 to $6,350.

More information on public library grants can be found at http://library.state.ak.us/

Alaska state grants are offered in many different areas. They are designed to benefit Alaskan Natives, education, libraries, museums and many other areas. Most of them benefit all Alaskans, even those in remote, isolated regions.

Of course, every resident of Alaska is welcome to apply for available federal education grants for school (Pell Grants and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants). Application begins with the submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form. This can be done online; click here for details for how to submit this form.