September 19, 2008

Regents review UA budget, approve projects & tuition for 2010-2011

For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 19, 2008

ANCHORAGE---The University of Alaska Board of Regents this week reviewed UA's upcoming operating and capital budgets, approved stages of various capital projects and set tuition rates for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Regents also hosted a legislative reception and toured current University of Alaska Anchorage science facilities. Science programs will see a major space shuffle in the months ahead as UAA anticipates the new ConocoPhillips Integrated Sciences Building's opening next year. The new building will relieve current overcrowding.

A large portion of the meeting was spent reviewing the proposed budget for FY10. The budget's top priority is college and work preparedness, including outreach programs to K-12 school districts, Tech Prep and career awareness programs, testing, placement and teacher preparation.

The top priority is the result of faculty efforts over a number of years to improve student success. Projects aim to help students at three different stages---while they're in the K-12 system; during the transition to college; and then once they're at a UA campus.

Hamilton proposes putting $2.6 million toward those bridging and outreach programs. Other priorities include increased funding for energy, engineering and climate change programs, at $3.8 million; beefing up health programs by just over $3 million; and workforce and campus programs expanded by $2.3 million. The proposed budget totals $343.5 million in state general funds. Other funding sources include federal sources, grants and university generated receipts.

The budget likely will see some adjustments before the board reviews and takes final action Oct. 31 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The budget request then goes to the state.

In other business, regents approved a 4 percent tuition increase for 100- and 200-level courses and a 7 percent increase for all other levels beginning in fall 2010. The new rates are a deliberate shift from double-digit increases regents deemed necessary several years ago. The action marks the fourth consecutive year that increases have been held to 7 percent or less.

UA tuition ranks ninth out of 15 Western states for tuition costs among four-year public universities, said Saichi Oba, assistant vice president for student services and enrollment management at the UA system.

In other matters, Jim Bowles and Wendy King of ConocoPhillips came to the meeting to present the university with a $3.8 million unrestricted donation. Hamilton said unrestricted donations such as this one allow the university to go above and beyond regular program offerings, especially in the area of visiting scholars, President's Professors and other endeavors.

The board also reviewed several campus capital projects in progress. Those actions included:
Formal project approval for a $10.7 million remodel of the Anderson Building at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, which includes money for pedestrian improvements between the main campus and the building, across Glacier Highway from the campus center;
Schematic design approval for the $7 million exterior envelope of the Tanana Valley Campus, which will improve the insulation value from R-4 to R-21;
And formal project approval for a $3.5 million rehabilitation of foundation pilings for two buildings at the Northwest Campus in Nome.

Numerous people testified in favor of a new engineering programs and expanded facilities at the UAA campus, including members of professional engineering firms. Enrollment in UAA engineering programs has increased dramatically and space is tight, UAA Engineering Dean Rob Lang told board members.

UA's capital budget as currently drafted includes $50 million in maintenance, renewal and rehabilitation at multiple campuses; $61.5 million for the new life sciences building at UAF; $4.1 million in entryway improvements and road realignment for UAS; and $65 million for the new UAA sports facility.

For more information call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or 907/388-3506.
For a full copy of the UA Board of Regents' agenda, go to
and click on "agendas."