September 21, 2007

UA board approves tuition, new programs

For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 21, 2007

The University of Alaska Board of Regents this week approved tuition rates and put its stamp of approval on several new degree and certificate programs created in response to student demand.

The board held a two-day meeting at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 18 and 19, 2007.

UA System President Mark Hamilton recommended two years of 5 percent tuition increases, saying such a rate is adequate to continue existing programs and eases off on the series of steeper increases seen in recent years. While the regents unanimously approved those increases, several expressed desire to revisit the issue next year.

With a 5 percent increase, tuition beginning in fall 2008 will be roughly $4,290 annually for a typical student taking 15 credits per semester, compared to the current $4,080. Per credit, lower division tuition will be $134, up from the current $128.

Tuition rates for Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez and Kodiak College are slightly lower. The exact charge for tuition depends on course load; graduate and out-of-state tuition charges are higher.

"Our students have paid increasingly higher tuition, which is an important part of our revenue component," said Board Chair Mary K. Hughes. "Tuition revenue is about 12 percent of our overall budget, with faculty grants, private donations and other university generated revenue making up a significant portion of the rest. The State of Alaska provides approximately 40 percent of our budget.  Thus, the support of our governor and legislators has always been, and will continue to be, crucial to providing postsecondary educational opportunities important to Alaskans."

The board also approved a new Bachelor of Arts degree in art at the University of Alaska Southeast, which builds upon the campus' existing liberal arts program. UAS already offers all of the fine art courses required for the new degree. The new program could lead to specialized art careers in, for example, graphic design, as well as provide a stepping stone to further graduate work in education or other disciplines.

Two other certificate programs were approved for UAF-a certificate in veterinary science, offered through UAF's Interior-Aleutians campus, and a certificate in high latitude range management, through UAF's  Northwest Campus in Nome.

The high latitude program, created in cooperation with potential employers, will provide graduates the entry level skills needed for natural resource jobs, as well as open opportunities for more advanced study in science.

Jessie and Harold David Sr. of Allakaket traveled to Anchorage for the board meeting to speak in support of the certificate in veterinary science. Allakaket is on the Arctic Circle and off the road system, 180 miles north of Fairbanks. The couple has a 24-dog kennel and participated in a pilot version of the program last year.

"I think this program is totally appropriate for our rural communities and long overdue," said Jessie David, who serves on the advisory council for the Interior-Aleutians Campus. "I support anything that will get our young people ... taking college courses."

In other action, the regents approved a 193-acre land sale to the Sitka City and Borough for $3.3 million; approved $4 million in roofing, siding and mechanical repairs to the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; toured the UAA campus with Chancellor Fran Ulmer; and reviewed and discussed the UA system's FY 2009 operating and capital budgets, with formal approvals slated for November.


For more information call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or 907/388-3506.