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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2022

Governor Dunleavy signs a FY23 budget supporting critical investment in the University of Alaska system

The FY23 State of the Alaska budget that Governor Dunleavy released today marks a turning point in support for the University of Alaska system, being the first operating budget increase in several years. 

“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,” said University of Alaska President Pat Pitney.

The budget signed today includes a modest base operating budget increase for fixed cost increases, plus one-time investments in areas critical to Alaska’s economic recovery.

Funding supports priority workforce programs in health and teacher education. The budget provides one-time investments in specific programs critical to the state's economic recovery. These investments will advance research and target workforce programs in alternative energy deployment, supporting commercial drone industry applications, critical minerals, heavy oil recovery and mariculture. 

Funding is also included for the highest deferred maintenance project and the modernization of the university’s aging student IT system. 

“Improving our digital infrastructure is critical to facilitate student recruitment, retention, and success for our three universities,” said Pitney.

The modest fixed cost increase in state funding is a significant positive sign to assure stability and focus on our academic programs and operations, but internal efficiencies and internal reallocations will remain part of the university system to assure we maximize the funding to meet the highest and most important workforce needs in our state.

“Bringing students into our academic programs and seeing our highly-qualified, Alaska-committed graduates helping businesses succeed is our highest priority. Our universities and community campuses system wide are keenly important to meeting the overwhelming workforce needs in our state,” said Pitney.

Another excellent sign for students pursuing higher education is the legislature’s re-establishment of the Higher Education Investment Fund (HB322) in a manner protected from the ‘budget sweep’. The budget bill signed by the Governor provides a fund balance of $342 million, the level of the prior fund recognizing recent market losses. It will provide secure and stable funding for the Alaska Performance Scholarship, Alaska Education Grants and the WWAMI students for years to come.

“Above all I want to celebrate this turning point and movement towards increased financial stability of our university system,” said Pitney. “While our footprint is smaller than it was before, we are strong, stable, committed to Alaska and our communities, and above all, providing quality education and experiences for our students.”

Click here for more detail on the FY23 budget.

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For more information contact Monique Musick, manager of marketing and communication, at 907-388-4784 or mmusick@alaska.edu.