During both the Russian and American colonial periods, education was largely provided by church institutions. Beginning in 1900, the US Congress established schools in towns and rural areas. The Alaska territorial government later assumed control over non-Native education, while the federal government continued to hold responsibility for the education of Alaska Natives. Today primary and secondary schools are distributed throughout the state. Alaska's higher education system encompasses the state-supported University of Alaska, with the Fairbanks campus founded in 1913 and later campuses added at Anchorage and Juneau. The University of Alaska also supports a number of rural education centers in remote parts of the state as well as a distance education program. The state has a network of community colleges and two private universities: Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage (affiliated with the United Methodist Church) and Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka (affiliated with the Presbyterian Church), the latter being the oldest institution of higher learning in Alaska.

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