November 9, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 9, 2021
UA Board of Regents to meet November 11-12
on FY23 budget, tuition, Alaska Native Success and
to honor veterans and active duty military
The University of Alaska Board of Regents will hold a full board meeting Nov. 11-12 during which regents will address the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) operating and capital budget requests, a tuition proposal for Academic Year 2023 and a compensation philosophy. The board also will take action on a five-year strategic plan for the Alaska Native Success Initiative.
The FY23 state operating budget request of $280.7 million includes a modest 3 percent adjustment for the UA system, approximately $8 million. This increment is essential to stabilize the university and to focus on key state workforce needs in areas such as teacher education, business and accounting, engineering, and career and workforce training.
“After years of budget reductions, we are now turning the corner on a path toward greater stability,” said UA Interim President Pat Pitney. “In order for UA to meet Alaska’s workforce needs, students, parents and Alaska’s businesses need to have confidence their programs are here to stay. To do that, we are partnering with the State of Alaska to focus our efforts on areas most critical to Alaska and to the state’s economic recovery.”
The FY23 capital funding request includes $50 million for critical deferred maintenance, the minimum annual funding required to maintain UA’s nearly 400 facilities and infrastructure across the state. Due to years of unfunded deferral of critical projects, there is an increasing risk of building closures and a growing list of facilities needing emergency repairs.
The capital request also includes $20 million for the modernization of student IT systems originally designed in the 1990s. This one-time investment would allow UA to transition to a cloud-based, modern student information system.
“Enrollment is key to serving Alaska and also is the key to UA’s future budget stability,” Pitney said. “Currently, UA’s student-facing IT systems are out of date and compare poorly against peers in terms of delivering a quality student experience. UA must improve these capabilities to remain competitive in the marketplace and offer a more user-friendly entry point for the student.”
The IT project may be eligible for funding through the state’s discretionary federal economic recovery funds (American Recovery Plan Act of 2021, also known as ARPA). In addition, the regents will consider funding for key economic development investments that the university can partner with the state to develop, also with funding from ARPA. The initiatives include critical minerals and rare earth elements research and development; oil and gas recovery research; unmanned aerial and underwater vehicle research and development, workforce training and business development; mariculture, North Pacific Fisheries, Arctic and Pacific North Ocean Sciences; health programs; and alternative energy programs. These are areas in which the university has a deep base of expertise and that the state has identified as priorities.
The proposed operating budget includes a small increment intended to bring the university’s compensation in-line with the proposed compensation philosophy to help recruit and retain quality employees. University of Alaska employees have had only a single, one percent across-the-board compensation increase in the past five years.
Regents also will consider Academic Year 2023 tuition. The proposal would have current tuition rates remain stable with the exception of a subsection of courses offered on the main UAF campus to bring its tuition in line with peer research institutions. The 11 percent tuition increase would apply only to lower-level undergraduate courses on the Troth Yeddha’ campus at UAF. Tuition at UAF’s community campuses and at all UAA and UAS campuses will remain at current levels.
The regents are expected to approve a five-year plan to improve the recruitment, retention and success of Alaska Native faculty, students and staff across the system. The board identified this work as a priority at its November 2020 meeting. Throughout this past year, university leaders worked with Alaska Native community leaders and action teams at the three university teams to develop the plan.
In honor of Veterans Day, regents will take an in-depth look into the services and support provided to student veterans and active military students and their dependents at UAA, UAF and UAS. The “Did You Know” presentation will reflect on the long history the U.S. Military has had in Alaska and the many ways in which the university and the military partner today.
The meeting, with the exception of any executive sessions, will be livestreamed at https://www.alaska.edu/bor/live/.
The full meeting agenda is available at https://www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas/.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents is an 11-member volunteer board, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Alaska Legislature. Members serve an eight-year term, with the exception of the student regent who is nominated from one of the three universities and serves a two-year term. The Board was established through the Alaska Constitution and is responsible for University of Alaska policy and management through the University President.
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For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).