Am I eligible for the Glacier Bay Year?

The Glacier Bay Year is open to young people ages 18-23.

The Arete Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national and/or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions policies, financial aid, and other related policies and programs, as well as volunteer and employment-related policies and activities.

What are the dates for the Glacier Bay Year?

The 2021 Glacier Bay Session will take place from January 1st to August 11th. Due to shifting circumstances surrounding Covid-19, these exact dates are subject to minor change.

How will the Arete Project mitigate Covid-19 risks?

Per Alaska state mandates, all students will be required to receive a Covid-19 test (at their own expense) within 72 hours of departure. The Arete Project requires students to quarantine at home between the time the test is taken and departure. Upon arrival in Alaska, all students will immediately begin at least one week of individual quarantine, after which all students will receive a second Covid-19 test (at the Arete Project’s expense). Students will then travel together on a charter flight to the Inian Islands, where all staff and faculty will either have quarantined for 14 days or bear proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Students will only travel back to Gustavus after spending a minimum of one month at the Inian Islands, eliminating any chance of transmission to the community. Any student showing relevant symptoms will immediately receive a new test. Gustavus is a small town off the road system, and chance of Covid-19 transmission is minimal, especially during the quiet winter months. To date, the town has had only four positive Covid-19 cases, all in out-of-town visitors and none resulting in community spread. While in Gustavus, students may not enter public spaces or private homes of individuals outside the Arete Project bubble. Masks must be carried at all times when off-campus and must be used any time individuals are within 6′ of one another. All Arete Project students, staff, and faculty are required to maintain rigorous personal hygiene practices. For further details, please request our full Covid-19 response plan from Please be aware that our Covid-19 response plan is subject to frequent revision as conditions and regulations change. 

What does it cost to attend?

Please visit our Fees & Financial Aid to learn more about the cost of attendance.

Is financial aid available?

Absolutely! We make the following financial aid commitments:

  • We meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students.
  • All financial aid awards are grants – they do NOT have to be repaid.
  • The financial aid process should NOT be a barrier to entry. If you are unable to fill out the financial aid application, please email to discuss other options.

We are committed to ensuring that students from all financial backgrounds are represented at the Glacier Bay Year. Please visit our Fees & Financial Aid page to learn more about how we meet student need.

Is college credit available?

The Arete Project is not a state-authorized postsecondary institution and does not grant course credit. However, students may apply to receive up 20 college credits through the University of Alaska at no additional cost.

Where does the program take place?

The town of Gustavus is located 60 miles northwest of Juneau as the crow flies. The Inian Islands are located 25 miles west of Gustavus. Both are accessible only by boat and plane.

Will the program be able to accommodate dietary restrictions?

Many meals will be vegetarian, and vegetarian options are always available. Applicants with other dietary restrictions are encouraged to contact us for further information.

I’m 21. Am I allowed to drink alcohol?

No. Student life at Arete Project programs is strictly drug, tobacco, and alcohol free. This applies to all students regardless of age. Drugs include all illegal drugs, all prescription drugs taken recreationally and/or without a prescription, marijuana and its derivatives, all forms of tobacco, and e-cigarettes.

Can I have visitors?

Arete Project students are permitted to receive visitors during part of the program that occur in Gustavus; however, due to the continuing threat of Covid-19, we strongly caution families against unnecessary travel. We do not offer overnight accommodations to visitors, but there are several nearby hotels and AirBnBs available, some within walking distance. Students may not receive visitors while at the Inian Islands or on backcountry trips. All visitors must comply with state, local, and institutional Covid-19 mandates. Students may not take time off from the program to spend time with visitors.

Can I go home or travel elsewhere during the program?

No. Due to the threat of Covid-19, the best way for us to keep students and our community safe is to minimize all traveling once students arrive in Alaska. Apart from travel that is part of the program – i.e., travel to the Inian Islands or backcountry trips – student travel is permissible only for medical emergencies. Students who travel outside our program-designated areas for any other reason may forfeit their place in the program, may be asked not to return from their travels, and will not be eligible for a tuition refund.

Can I arrive late or leave early?

No. Students will arrive in Juneau, travel together from Juneau to the Inian Islands, and immediately quarantine together. Consequently it is crucial that all students arrive at the same time. In order to preserve the integrity of the cohort, students are also not permitted to leave before the departure date of August 11th, 2021.

Can I take online coursework through my college/university while enrolled?

No. The Arete Project is an immersive living-learning program, and students will be fully occupied each day with work and study. Students will have neither the time for additional studies nor sufficiently reliable internet access to succeed in online courses.

How do I apply?

Submit our online application. Applications are due September 30th, 2020.

Can I apply as a foreign student?

All students must be legally allowed to live in the United States for the full duration of the program. This includes DACA students. Unfortunately, the Arete Project cannot sponsor visas.

How is Internet/information access?

The Arete Project cultivates a tech-minimal environment, and we specifically encourage students to think critically about their engagement with technology during the program. Limited wifi will be available to students in the Main House; student accommodations will not have internet access.

Where will students be housed?

In Gustavus, students will live in either a yurt or one-room cabin with between one and three roommates. Your accommodations will have basic electricity and be heated solely with a wood stove. Rainwater catchment provides drinking water, and a burner or hotplate will allow you to prepare hot water or simple snacks. Kitchen, dining, shower, and laundry facilities are available at the main house.

At the Inian Islands, students will live in the Student Bunkhouse. Downstairs is a storage room, living area, kitchen, and changing room. An upstairs loft has twelve barracks-style bunk beds.

Other questions?

For more information, please read through the rest of our website. If it’s not answered there, contact us at