System News

From left, Regent Ashton Compton, Coalition Leader Peter Finn, Regent Mike Powers, Regent Mary Hughes, Mat-Su Director Talis Colberg, Regent Ken Fisher, UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer, Regent Pat Jacobson and Regent Jo Heckman, inside the Mat-Su College greenhouse during a campus tour. Photo by Kate Ripley, University of Alaska.

Legislative Update

Operating Budget

Gov. Sean Parnell's proposed budget for UA for FY12 is a $9.3 million increase, or 2.7 percent, over the current fiscal year. The Conference Committee’s proposed budget (HB108 and HB109) for UA is slightly higher, at a $10.6 million increase, or 3.1 percent increase. Included in the $10.6 million increase is a portion of the fuel trigger mechanism funding ($1.5 million) which was transferred to base funding. UA’s general fund compensation request was reduced $1.3 million by shifting general funds to university receipts. The shift from general funds to university receipts represents a real reduction to UA as these university receipts had been committed to pay other fixed cost increases in FY12.

The Conference Committee accepted the seven appropriation structure proposed by the Senate. The Conference Committee also accepted most of the program requests included in the House and Senate proposed budgets; they are listed in the table HERE.

Capital budget

The capital budget (Senate Bill 46) is still in play during the special session. Senators want to bundle energy projects together in a veto-proof package, which has raised constitutionality questions from the governor's attorney general.  While these issues are still being worked out, for UA, the only change from the previous version of the bill was shifting $2 milllion in university receipts to general funds for a total of $4 million general funds for the UAS Banfield Hall dormitory addition.

The current capital bill includes the following general fund (GF) allotment from the state treasury, as well as receipt authority (which allows the university to accept money from other sources):

  • $37.5 million GF for deferred maintenance
  • $2 million GF for annual renewal and repurposing (R&R)
  • $154,000 GF for Juneau Campus Mining Workforce Development
  • $17 million GF for the UAA Sports Arena
  • $4 million GF for UAS Banfield Hall Dormitory Addition
  • $200,000 for University Honors College Student Support
  • $30 million in federal receipt authority for capital projects.

Alaska Performance Scholarship
A House-Senate conference committee has split the difference in disagreements about scholarship funding for the next school year. The decision falls short of meeting Gov. Sean Parnell’s request of more than $8 million for the Alaska Performance Scholarship program.

The committee approved $4.5 million in a statewide operational budget for the scholarship program. It approved the same amount for the AlaskAdvantage program, where aid is distributed based on students’ financial needs.

UA-related information about the capital and operating budgets, as well as Alaska Performance Scholarship, can be found on the university's state relation's website at www.alaska.edu/state.


Open Enrollment ends May 16

Choose your UA Health Plan before the May deadline

Open enrollment is now underway and continues until May 16. This is your annual opportunity to review your benefits and make changes for the coming year. This year is different! In the past, if you did not return an enrollment form, your current plan election and dependent coverage level continued into the new year. This year, the UA Choice plans are changing and everyone needs to review the new options and make an informed decision to choose the right plan for them.

The employee charges for all three plans will remain the same as the current year. For example, if you currently have the Economy Plan and elect the HDHP for next year, the amount deducted from your pay will not change so long as you are not changing the coverage level, such as adding a spouse or children.

If you do not return an enrollment form, you and your dependents will be enrolled in the mid-level 750 Plan regardless of the plan you had before. This would affect your bi-weekly charges if you were formerly enrolled in the Economy or Deluxe Plan. However, if you waived coverage (opted out) in the past, your waived status will continue into the new plan year.

There are other changes to the plans starting July 1. Some changes are designed to improve the plan performance, and others are a result of health care reform.  There are changes that affect the pharmacy plan, dependent coverage, lifetime maximums, and expanded preventative services. There is extensive information about these changes on the benefits website. For a more detailed overview of the open enrollment read HERE.

You should have received an Open Enrollment packet in the mail. You also can find all the information on the benefits website. If you need a copy of the open enrollment guide, please contact your regional human resources office. There is a wealth of information and FAQs on the Benefits website; if you still have questions please contact Director of Benefits Mike Humphrey.

FAQs and general information
Find additional information and resources on the statewide benefits website: http://www.alaska.edu/benefits/

Academic Master Plan

The Academic Master Plan for the University of Alaska is now complete. Many key players came together to create this plan for the UA System. Copies of the printed version will be distributed to deans, directors, regents, chancellors and other leaders systemwide. A digital verson may be dowloaded from the Public Affairs website HERE.

Gamble delays tuition announcement

President Gamble announced that he will delay proposing the tuition rate for Academic Year 2014 (fall 2013–spring 2014) until September 2012 so that students can benefit from the most up-to-date and accurate data possible. Delaying the announcement provides more time to collect solid data affecting tuition rates including state operating funds, enrollment and retention figures, federal funding, and cost-containment efforts at UA.

Since 2001, the UA president has notified students, regents and governance leaders of intended tuition rates 28 months in advance. This “April tuition memo” was fairly unique to UA and was intended to give students plenty of advance notice to plan for tuition expenses. Tuition rates for fall 2011 and 2012 have already been set. 

President Gamble and campus leaders  believe that announcing the proposal in September 2012 still provides plenty of advance notice for the 2013-2014 school year, still allows time for board review and student input, and it also facilitates improved accuracy during these challenging economic times. 

Read the memo from President Gamble HERE.

April Board of Regents meeting

The UA Board of Regents approved critical electrical upgrades at the Fairbanks campus, continuation of a bachelor’s degree in international studies at the Anchorage campus, an expansion of steam heat capacity at UAF’s West Ridge and contracts for two collective bargaining units during a two-day meeting at Mat-Su College April 7-8.

In addition, the board approved a resolution of appreciation for outgoing UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer and student Regent Ashton Compton, whose term expires in May. Ulmer announced her retirement over a year ago and recently was tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. President Gamble has appointed former dean of UAA's College of Business and Public Policy, Tom Case, to serve as chancellor.

The regents' meeting included many highlights about Mat-Su College, which has seen considerable growth in recent years. The board heard presentations about various events and programs at Mat-Su College including the Machetanz Art Festival, the paramedics program, the student ambassadors program, the Mat-Su Carbon Crew (a student environmental sustainability club), Phi Theta Kappa (an honors group) and many more. The regents toured campus facilities as well as the nearby Agricultural and Experiment Station, which is part of UAF.

The college hosted a reception for regents, and board members lunched with members of the college’s advisory board. The board last met at the Mat-Su campus eight years ago.

For more information please read the April Regent's Recap.

Health plan forum April 29

Director of Benefits Mike Humphrey will hold an open forum for Statewide employees in Fairbanks at 2 p.m. Friday, April 29, on FY12 changes to UA Choice, the university's health-care plan. The forum is part of a series of similar meetings held across the UA System to help educate employees about plan changes that will go into effect July 1.

The forum will take place in the Board of Regents' Conference Room in the Butrovich Building. Humphrey will answer questions to assist Statewide employees in making a health plan selection for FY12. Please review your open enrollment packet and prepare questions for the forum.

SAA Highlights

The Statewide Administration Assembly last met on April 13 in the Sherman Carter Conference Room.  The next SAA meeting will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 11. All meetings are open to the public, and Statewide employees are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting Statewide staff.

April 13 meeting overview:

  • Legislative update
  • Recycling on campus
  • Evaluation Forms
  • Electronic Timesheets
  • Open Enrollment
  • Dependent Audit Results
  • Parking
  • Paper Products
  • Per Diem Rates
  • Tuition Benefit
  • SAA Election

For information please read the overview HERE.


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