Operating Budget

The University of Alaska’s budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2020 are based on serving Alaska’s needs through education, research and public service. The Board of Regents strategic focus is on increasing educational attainment, growing economic development, providing a highly skilled workforce, advancing world class research and operating more cost effectively. UA’s budget is built to support those strategic priorities and the needs of the state.

UA is the state’s most potent instrument for growing and diversifying our economy.  Our leadership, faculty and staff are committed to excellence in each of our primary missions – education, research, and service to the state. We are preparing Alaskans for success in an increasingly competitive, knowledge based economy. As the largest producer of talent in the state, the university is integral to maintaining a skilled and capable workforce. UA is also a world-class research institution. We lead the world in Arctic research and have built an international reputation that attracts faculty, students and investment. Our research is advancing knowledge, driving innovation and solving real-world problems, the directly benefit Alaska. These research activities have tremendous economic value, with the majority of funds coming from outside the state. In short, we are an excellent public investment.

Governor Dunleavy’s Budget Proposal

On February 13th, Governor Dunleavy unveiled his FY20 proposal, which included an unprecedented 41% reduction to the University of Alaska’s operating budget for next fiscal year. The Governor’s spending plan cuts $134 million from UA’s current year budget, reducing our state general fund support from $327 million to $193 million. If this cut is sustained by the legislature, it would be the largest year-over-year reduction in the university’s history and would take us back to 2002 funding levels.

We have been aggressively engaged with the Governor and the Legislature during this year’s budget development process, demonstrating the tremendous value UA provides Alaska and ensuring that our university continues to receive the level of financial support we need to serve you. You can’t have a great state, without a great university. The table below shows where we are in the current budget development process.

GOV budget vs. BOR budget

Capitol Budget

UA is the largest landlord in state government, owning and maintaining more than 420 buildings, totaling 8.2 million gross square feet, and with an adjusted value of nearly $4 billion. But these are also some of the oldest buildings in the state with an average age of 33 years and a facilities maintenance backlog that is approaching $1.1 billion. Historically, the University has looked to the legislature to provide annual capital funding to address this obligation and to protect the state’s investment. Deferring maintenance increases the risk of mission failure and costly emergency repairs. The university understands these risks and is using limited internal operating funds to partially mitigate them. UA spends over $35 million annually to maintain our facilities but in order to keep the maintenance backlog from growing, the annual amount should be closer to $60 million. We are good stewards of our facilities, but are always exploring opportunities to reduce our long-term operating costs and overall footprint.

Budget Background Information: