Public Affairs

December 03, 2010

Tuition, facilities top UA Board of Regents’ Dec. 9-10 meeting

For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

The University of Alaska Board of Regents faces a facilities-heavy agenda as well as setting tuition rates for 2013 when it meets Dec. 9 and 10 in Fairbanks.

Public testimony will be 10 a.m. Thursday Dec. 9 and 9 a.m. Friday Dec. 10 in Room 109 of the Butrovich Building, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Testimony is limited to three minutes per person.

On tuition, UA President Pat Gamble proposes a 7 percent increase to all undergraduate tuition rates and a 3 percent increase in graduate rates. The proposal for the 2012-2013 school year represents a consensus of most participating parties of an advisory task force on tuition and affordability. The 7 percent rate is the amount the Coalition of Student Leaders proposed last fall.

The advisory task force held many meetings to review a wide variety of different tuition scenarios and their budget ramifications. While it’s difficult predicting revenue needs two years in advance, the UA administration and board strive to set tuition early so students can properly plan.

UA tuition revenue covers about half the instructional costs; the rest is paid from state general funds. The university system’s total operating budget, including all revenue sources, is approximately $850 million, with less than half coming from the state and a third made up of restricted revenues, including federal grants and contracts. Gamble and the three chancellors are continuing to work on reducing costs and stabilizing the proportion of state funding required on an annual basis for the 15-campus system.

The board has a number of facilities projects before it, including:

• Total project cost approval for a high-bay test module for UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power, at $4.7 million. The Alaska Legislature approved $4 million in the current state capital budget and the university is raising the remaining $700,000. The high-bay test facility is part of a larger project to be phased in for the center, which already has garnered $8 million in research awards to address rural energy issues, geothermal energy, wind-diesel system testing and other energy research.

• Formal project approval for Prince William Sound Community College renewal and wellness center improvements, at $5 million. Project funding is from the state general obligation bond voters approved by 60 percent in November. Hazardous materials abatement, handicapped access improvements and fixing undersized and failing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are a few of the improvements expected with the project.

• Formal project approval to improve pedestrian movement and eliminate through-traffic in a central zone of the University of Alaska Southeast Auke Lake campus, at $4.3 million. The project’s goal is to steer main traffic away from the old winding, narrow entrance near Auke Lake and instead use the wider, newer entrance onto campus from the Back Loop Road. The first phase of the project, at $825,000, comes from current year maintenance money. This phase will replace pavement and add lighting and signage.

• Formal project approval for Mat-Su College’s paramedic program and classroom addition, at $3.5 million. This project was funded by the November GO bond. This first phase will add approximately 6,400 square feet to the east side of Snodgrass Hall and include paramedic and nursing labs, additional classrooms and offices. The nursing program will vacate a classroom in the Fred and Sara Machetanz Building, which will be converted into a general purpose classroom.

• Formal project approval for renovation of the UAS Sitka Campus Career and Technical Education Center, at $3.4 million. Funding for the project comes primarily from a federal Title III grant ($2.5 million) as well as $831,000 from UA’s current capital budget. Improvements to the Career and Tech Ed wing are needed to accommodate expected growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency classes. A student success center for distance education, computer classroom, construction technology lab and multi-purpose room are part of the project.

In other business, the board is expected to take action on deleting a bachelor’s degree in statistics at UAF, which is now an option available within the mathematics program; the 10-year capital improvement plan, which puts deferred maintenance first; a student government fee proposed by Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; and two resolutions of appreciation for Regents Erik Drygas and Cynthia Henry, for whom the December meeting is expected to be their last. Gov. Sean Parnell is expected to appoint two new regents prior to the next regular meeting in February.

In addition, the board will select officers for the coming year and approve the 2012 board meeting schedule.

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For more information, call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102. For a copy of the board’s agenda, go to
http://www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas/2010/dec9-10/.

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