Capitol report

July 1, 2022

Governor Dunleavy signs FY23 Budget including modest base operating increases and one-time economic recovery investments for the University of Alaska 

On Tuesday Governor Dunleavy signed the FY23 State of Alaska budget. The move came three days before the beginning of the new fiscal year. The governor’s finalized $12.3 billion budget was $400 million less than the budget approved by the legislature in May. Notably, the budget signed by the governor is the first University of Alaska operating budget increase in years. We’re encouraged to see that, as the university system continues to help all of Alaska. 

The operating budget brings a sense of fiscal stability for the University of Alaska system and includes: 

  • $8.4 million for compensation and fixed cost increases (including a 2% salary increase for non-bargaining staff, firefighters, and local 6070) 

  • $3.5 million for health program faculty to meet workforce demand

  • $2 million for alternative energy

  • $1 million for health clinicals

  • $1 million for teacher education practicums

  • $100,000 increase to mental health trust funding 

  • $72,300 for technical vocational education program funds (+$881,800 FY22 supplemental)

  • And increased authorization to receive federal funding for research

The operating budget also includes one-time funding for research and development critical for Alaska’s economic recovery:

  • $10 million for drone programs to secure beyond line of sight and industry development

  • $7.8 million for important critical mineral and rare earth research and development

  • $5 million for heavy oil recovery research and development

  • $250,000 for health program equipment 

  • $7 million to support mariculture research, industry support and workforce development

Additionally, the budget contains capital funding for the following:

  • $23 million for deferred maintenance at UAF’s Bartlett/Moore residence halls

  • $20 million for student IT system modernization

  • $2.5 million for alternative energy research

  • $2 million for fisheries, seafood, and maritime programs 

  • $500,000 for rare earth elements demonstration facility (grant proposal)

  • $250,000 for rare earth mineral security

  • And increased authorization to receive federal funding for the Seward Sikuliaq facility

Also included in the budget bill is $342 million to recapitalize the Higher Education Investment Fund (HEIF). Yesterday the governor signed House Bill 322, legislation re-establishing and protecting the fund from future sweeps, into law. Recapitalizing and protecting the HEIF has been one of the University of Alaska’s highest priorities in Juneau this year. Students can now rely on secure and stable funding for the Alaska Performance Scholarship, Alaska Education Grants and the WWAMI Medical Education Program.

The FY23 State of the Alaska budget that Governor Dunleavy released marks a turning point in support for the University of Alaska system. In a note to UA faculty, staff and students, UA president Pat Pitney wrote “the budget provides financial stability for the UA system essential for our universities to focus on key state needs, and to address student demand for accessible, affordable, high-quality education. We appreciate the Governor's support."

It is with gratitude that we recognize and thank both the governor and the legislature for their continued support of the University of Alaska and our core mission of inspiring learning, and advancing and disseminating knowledge throughout teaching, research and public service, emphasizing the North and its diverse peoples.

Thank you to all the students, alumni, staff, faculty that helped raise a voice this year.  This has been a tremendous team effort and will help Alaska move forward in a positive way.

For more information, contact Director of State Relations for the University of Alaska System Chad Hutchison, cell 907-378-3946, email You can also follow the University of Alaska Government Relations on our Twitter page.