November 02, 2004

Regents Approve UA Budget Request

Members of the University of Alaska Board of Regents agreed Monday to seek $242.7 million in state money from the Legislature for the system’s operating budget next year, a 5 percent increase above the current level of state support.

State money makes up 40 percent of the university’s budget overall blueprint for day-to-day operations. That’s down from 60 percent in 1990.

“The university has been consistently working to diversify its revenue sources so that it doesn’t draw so much from state coffers,” said Board of Regents chairman Brian Rogers of Fairbanks. “That state support is essential, however, to continue to leverage private, federal and other sources of money.”

The proposed increase in state money, at $11.6 million, would help fund a maintenance-level spending plan for the university system that recognizes unavoidable increases in certain fi xed costs, such as union negotiated salaries and debt service.

The board’s action came Monday during a meeting at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. The regents also agreed to ask the state for $118.8 million for capital projects next year, part of an overall capital budget that projects $110.4 million from other funding sources, including federal money and private contributions.

“The capital request to the state might sound like an eye-popping fi gure, but it represents a realistic and even trimmed-down list of the university’s real capital needs that can’t be met through other sources,” Rogers said.

University President Mark Hamilton noted the institution has received little capital support from the Legislature in recent years, a trend that must not continue.

“This year represents a catch-up year for us,” Hamilton said. “It’s our responsibility to lay out our real needs, system wide.”

The regents deferred action on a long-term capital improvement plan, agreeing the list of projects needs more discussion. The issue could come up at the next board meeting, slated for the Fairbanks campus in December.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kate Ripley 907.474.6311
NR 12-04