In 2007 The High North scholarships were developed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU). The scholarships are available for students from Russia, Canada and the USA.

“The scholarships have really put Norway on the map for our students,” said Ms. Anger.

Previously, the UAF had difficulty recruiting students to study in Scandinavia because there was a notion of a language barrier, and many students did not consider studying in another northern country. The High North Scholarships have taken into account travel and living costs, making studying in Norway a much better option for UAF students.

“Now students are coming back and telling other students and it’s really helping the recruiting efforts for the North2North program,” said Ms. Anger who is also on the program teams for the University of the Arctic’s North2North and GoNorth programs. The mobility programs aim to attract northern students, and students from the south to study at circumpolar institutions, respectively.

Ms. Anger also points out that the scholarships eventually help to support the mandate of the University of the Arctic, as it gets students looking at the north as a circumpolar region full of possibilities and study opportunities.

For students who had not previously thought of studying in Norway, the program gets their attention and puts the idea of Norway as a study destination in their mind, whether or not they receive a scholarship.

Students are recruited for study at northern Norwegian institutions, in specific programs relevant to the north, such as tourism, natural resource management, environmental studies and law, including courses in human and indigenous rights.

UAF had six students receive the High North scholarship last year. Three students were at the University of Tromsø, they also had two students placed at The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), and one at Finnmark University College. And they have been able to award the scholarship to more students this year.

“The program has completely opened up a new area of study for our students and allowed us to support them adequately,” said Ms. Anger.

For UAF students, each scholarship amounts to about $9000 US in total, which includes support money for travel, and living expenses. Norway has dedicated 9 million NOK for the scholarships in the 2007-2010 period, distributing 3 million NOK to the three countries annually.

“It’s surprising that one country can offer such generous support to students from other countries,” said Ms. Anger.

Ms. Anger believes that the program helps students to develop their own understanding of what it means to be a northerner and it connects them not only to Norwegian students, but to other exchange students from all over the globe, who they would not have met at their home institution.

She is impressed with the commitment it shows to the north and says “as an advisor, I’d like to thank the Norwegian government for the generosity they’ve shown. It’s fantastic for students to have these opportunities.”

Photo: Donna Anger at University of Alaska Fairbanks