Budget Impasse Update

June 25, 2021

The University of Alaska Board of Regents convened Tuesday, June 22 to adopt an FY22 operating and capital budget, and voted unanimously to accept the $273 million operating budget and $31.6 million capital budget as passed by the Alaska Legislature. While both budgets are still awaiting transmission to the governor, this action by the board allows the university to move forward with distribution plans once the final budget bill is signed.

The Alaska Legislature is currently convened in a second special session in Juneau to discuss the operating and capital budgets and address effective date discrepancies the governor has identified as a barrier to the budget becoming law. 

“In light of the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, the budget passed by the Board of Regents today demonstrates the importance of maintaining the legislative level of funding in both the operating and capital budget. Although still a reduction in state funding of $4.3 million compounded by remaining COVID impacts of $15.9 million, it is a much better position than prior estimates. Maintaining this funding level is critical for stability for the UA System’s three universities and our ability to support the goals shared by the UA Board of Regents and Governor Dunleavy - economic recovery,” UA Interim President Pat Pitney said Tuesday.

The $273 million state funded operating budget coupled with earned revenue allows our universities to continue to provide stability in core programs – especially those that address workforce shortages – and focus on the state's economy by training Alaskans to return to the workforce as well as support key research programs important to Alaska’s economy. The reduction forces continued focus on reducing the facility footprint,  streamlining administrative functions, and encouraging more collaboration across the UA system.

Pitney said the $31.6 million capital appropriation for deferred maintenance would support an estimated 300 construction and indirect jobs for Alaska businesses in Alaska’s economy while helping to maintain UA facilities critical to serving students.  The funding impacts facilities critical to student enrollment and key academic programs. 

State budget appropriations have been reduced by more than $100 million over the past eight years. The university has worked to resize while maintaining focus on its programs necessary for Alaska’s workforce and competitively-funded research.

“This state appropriation allows us stability as we continue to work through the net COVID impacts, which we now estimate at $15.9 million,” Pitney said. “We thank the Legislature for its support and the governor for clearly seeing how the university can help change the economics of our state’s recovery through research and preparing our workforce for the jobs ahead.”