UA Board of Regents adopts FY24 budgets and union contracts

    Fairbanks, Alaska (KINY) - The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the FY24 operating and capital budgets during its November 10-11 meeting.

    The operating budget includes a $5.2 million state funding increase to build capacity to train Alaskans for the workforce, provide better service to students, attract and retain high-quality faculty, and increase financial aid opportunities.

    "This request moves the university forward toward our goals," said UA President Pat Pitney.

    The operating budget includes $12.7 million in state funding for compensation increases for university employees and union members whose contracts were approved during the meeting. It also includes $6.8 million in state funding to cover unavoidable operational cost increases from rising insurance premiums, the first cost increase of employee healthcare costs in seven years, and enhanced attention to cyber-security.

    The capital budget includes $72.3 million for critical deferred maintenance funding and $32 million for facility modernization to improve the student learning experience and increase workforce training capacity including modernizing a facility to accommodate expanding the WWAMI program.

    Reliable funding is required to maintain UA's facilities and infrastructure across the state.

    After many years of unfunded deferral of critical projects, there is an increased risk and evidence of building closures, and a deferred maintenance/renewal and repurposing backlog that has grown to more than $1.5 billion.

    The FY24 operating and capital budgets recognize the need to continue critical work in developing drone industry capabilities and increasing food security.

    The approved tuition rates for the academic year of 2024 remain flat across the system including community campuses, except for lower division undergraduate tuition at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Troth Yeddha campus.

    The increase would affect about 15% of the total UA student population and standardizes tuition at the system's flagship research university with its peers.

    Regents voted to approve the collective bargaining agreement between the University of Alaska and United Academics.

    The three-year agreement provides sustainable compensation increases, provides additional faculty development funds, an increase to the pension base, and other items including changes to the dispute resolution process.

    The contract represents points made by both sides while maintaining a majority of the original principles that have formed the basis of the contract for decades. Regents also approved new collective bargaining agreements for adjunct faculty and firefighters unions.

    Additionally, regents reviewed the priority focus areas and targets for the Board of Regents' Goals and Measures approved in February.

    Increasing student enrollment remains the top priority of the eight total focus areas and 31 measures supporting the goal.

    The board celebrated Regents John Davies, Lisa Parker, J. Scott Jepsen, and Sheri Buretta whose terms end in February of 2023.

    They approved resolutions of appreciation in honor of their service to the University of Alaska system.

    "Every year, we need to re-address our goals and establish that these are still our priorities," said Pitney. "These priority focus areas guide our budget investments, management efforts, and everyday activities under our five goals."

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