December 10, 2010

Regents set future tuition, say farewell to two members

For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 10, 2010

FAIRBANKS--The University of Alaska Board of Regents today approved tuition rates for the 2012-2013 school year, well in advance so students have maximum time to plan.

Students praised UA President Pat Gamble for the tuition-setting process used this year, which involved students and other stakeholders through an advisory task force. The proposal Gamble put forward, a 7 percent increase for all undergraduate tuition rates and a 3 percent increase for graduate rates for the 2012-2013 academic year, represents a consensus of the task force. The rate is the minimum the multi-campus system predicts it will need to help balance its budget for FY2013. »Internal reallocations, continued cost-saving measures and increasing other revenue sources will play a major role as well.

Student government leaders proposed the 7 percent rate last fall. Several student leaders urged board members to keep graduate tuition static, and not increase it by 3 percent. Student Regent Ashton Compton of Fairbanks proposed an amendment to forgo the graduate tuition increase but it didn’t garner enough votes to pass.

The advisory task force on tuition and affordability includes community campus directors, budget and finance planners as well as students. The task force will continue to meet, UA officials said.

“All of us on the board are really pleased with the way the different groups came together and hammered this out,” said Regent Tim Brady of Anchorage.

UA tuition revenue covers about half the actual instructional costs; the rest is subsidized by state general funds.

Like all other public and private employers across the nation, the UA System faces continuing challenges with steep rises in health-care costs for its 4,500 benefits eligible employees despite cost-containment efforts that have included cutting back on certain benefits and requiring employees to pay more into the plan. The university, with much input from employees, is currently analyzing numerous proposals designed to slow the rate of health-care increases in the future.

In other business, the board approved a number of campus construction and maintenance projects, some funded by the recent voter-approved general obligation bond. Projects approved include a high-bay test module for UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power, at $4.7 million; renovation and campus upgrades at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, at $5 million; phased-in pedestrian and traffic improvements at the University of Alaska Southeast Auke Lake campus, at $4.3 million; an addition to Mat-Su College for paramedic and nursing labs and classrooms, at $3.5 million; and renovations for the Career and Technical Education Center at UAS Sitka Campus, at $3.4 million.

The meeting was the last regular one for Fairbanks regents Cynthia Henry and Erik Drygas. Gov. Sean Parnell is expected to appoint new regents by early February, when their terms expire. Drygas, who served out a partial term of a former regent, has expressed a desire to be reappointed to a full term.

Both Henry and Drygas received standing ovations after resolutions of appreciation were read aloud. The resolutions lauded them for their service and efforts on behalf of students, faculty and staff at the
University of Alaska.

The board also elected Regent Fuller Cowell of Anchorage to serve as chair of the board for the coming year. Pat Jacobson of Kodiak will serve as vice chair and Bob Martin of Juneau will be secretary. Kirk
Wickersham of Anchorage will be treasurer.



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