September 25, 2009

UA Regents approve programs, set tuition at two-day Juneau meeting

For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 25, 2009

JUNEAU---The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved several new academic programs Friday, including undergraduate certificates in ethnobotany and environmental studies, a graduate certificate in construction management, bachelor degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, and a certificate in corrections.

Wrapping up its two-day meeting at the University of Alaska Southeast, the board also:

  • Approved tuition rates for the 2011-2012 academic year, at $154 per credit at most UA institutions for lower-level courses (100- and 200-level classes) and $187 per credit for upper-division courses;
  • Approved schematic design for the first phase of a renovation project of the Science Building on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, estimated at $2.6 million, the funding for which is already in hand;
  • Approved a new site for a proposed energy technology building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, estimated to cost $29.6 million, with funding still to be secured;
  • Gave formal project approval for plumbing and shower repairs at Skarland Hall at UAF, at an estimated $3.8 million. Funding for that project is still to be determined;
  • Gave formal project approval for student housing renovations at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, estimated at nearly $4 million. Funding for the project comes from a federal grant. The project allows numerous upgrades to sewer, electrical systems, weatherization, security upgrades and other improvements.

The ethnobotany degree will be delivered at Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel. It will provide rural students with scientific training leading to entry level employment in natural and cultural resource management at local and regional offices, within both the private and public sectors. The environmental studies certificate also targets rural and Native students through the Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham.

The degree programs in nutrition and dietetics will build on UAA’s health-care career education and training niche. Alaska has been the only state in the nation without a baccalaureate degree in nutrition
or dietetics, forcing institutions and agencies to contract with professionals outside Alaska.

The graduate certificate in construction management at UAF is intended for graduate engineers or other professionals in the Alaska construction workforce. The state Department of Transportation supports advanced training for engineers and other professionals; both UAA and UAF offer associate degrees in construction management and UAA has a bachelor’s program.

The undergraduate certificate in corrections will be offered through Kenai Peninsula College, at both its Soldotna and Homer campuses. The state Department of Corrections supports the program. While UAA and UAF offer bachelor and master’s degrees in justice, there had not been an entry level program in corrections previously.

The tuition proposal drew interest from student government leaders and students, who advocated for lower increases along with wage increases for student jobs on campuses across the state. The student groups also called for increased financial aid for Alaska, which lags other states

The issue drew thoughtful discussion amongst board members. Ultimately, the tuition rate was approved on a 6-3 vote.

A majority of board members said numerous improvements made throughout the 16-campus system, including new faculty hires and new programs offered to students, necessitates tuition at the 5 and 10 percent levels. Including this latest increase, UA tuition is a good deal compared to the 15 Western states, and is less than about half of them. Improvements throughout the UA system in the last 11 years have led to an increased number of Alaska students choosing to remain in-state for postsecondary education or workforce training.

Undergraduate tuition for a full-time student taking 15 courses per semester runs about $4,500 currently, depending on the mix of classes. Using that same example, it is set to go to $4,755 starting in the fall 2011 semester. Under the proposal approved Friday, tuition will go to $5,115 starting in fall 2011. That amount is still less than the current average of the 15 Western states.

By policy, UA as a public system takes the unusual step of setting tuition two years in advance of rates taking effect, providing students plenty of advance notice. In addition, student governments are notified five months prior to the scheduled vote.



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