UAA is the largest university in the University of Alaska system, with 18,000 students. Two-thirds of UAA students attend the 428-acre main campus, located along the north side of Providence Drive in east Anchorage, with extension sites in Eagle River and nearby military bases. There are four other campuses as well: Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer, Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, and Kodiak College in Kodiak.

The UAA campus is very picturesque and pleasant to be on, especially at the west end; however, the linear layout of the central and eastern campus can make getting between classes very unpleasant if you've neglected to take location into account when scheduling. However, an extensive series of skyways makes it possible to go from the Business Ed Building to the library, a distance of nearly half a mile, without ever setting foot outdoors. The university also runs a circulator shuttle running every 15 minutes.

Academically UAA is more or less average, but its reputation is mixed; some people love it, others consider it inferior at best. In general, it tends to be somewhat underrated, especially by outbound high-school seniors who are in the college-application stage.

UAA has an Air Force ROTC program, over 70 clubs and honors societies, three fraternities (Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Sigma Phi Epsilon), and two sororities (Sigma Sigma Sigma and Delta Sigma Theta). The campus radio station, KRUA "The Edge", broadcasts on 88.1 FM and is im-bloody-possible to receive much of the time

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