University of Alaska Board of Regents sets FY24 budget priorities

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - During its two-day meeting in Juneau, the University of Alaska Board of Regents addressed Alaska’s critical needs for a qualified workforce, dual enrollment programs across the system, and investments in the university to improve the student experience, faculty capacity, research, and innovation.

    On Thursday, regents held an initial discussion on the FY24 operating and capital budgets. Each of the three universities and the UA System Office proposed investments that support workforce and economic development for the state.

    Regents heard from OMB Director Neil Steininger who provided a brief update on the state budget outlook and projected revenue forecast. University leadership will be meeting with OMB to discuss the university’s FY24 budget, as well as the critical need for funding to address the university system’s $1.3 billion backlog in deferred maintenance and renewal and repurposing projects.

    A draft tuition policy change was previewed that defines the guiding principles for how the board will assess tuition requests from the universities and paves the way for further tuition differentiation based on, among other criteria, university mission, residency, two-year vs. 4-year programs, or costs of modes of delivery.

    Regents received a first look at proposed tuition rate changes for UAF’s Troth Yeddha’ campus for the academic year 2024. Under this proposal, to be voted on at the board’s November meeting, UAA and UAS, and all community campuses, will retain the current tuition rate. The board also discussed the importance of scholarships and financial aid in ensuring affordability and access to higher education.

    Regents approved the FY23 operating and capital budget distribution plan as approved by Governor Dunleavy, which includes $35.3 million in one-time investments that align with the board’s goals and UA expertise, including funding for drones, heavy oil recovery research, critical minerals, mariculture, maritime programs, alternative energy and health programs.

    In addition, the board approved deferred maintenance and renovation projects including the UAF Bartlett and Moore Hall Modernization and Renewal project, and the UAF Rasmuson Library Student Success Center Project. The regents also approved the University of Alaska Anchorage 2022 Campus Master Plan, which will guide investment in university facilities, including campuses in Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, Mat-Su and Valdez, for the next 10 years.

    On Friday morning the regents took a deep dive into dual enrollment programs at all three universities as part of the Did You Know? series. Dual enrollment refers to students who simultaneously enroll in a K-12 or homeschool program and in classes at one of the three universities or community colleges. In 2021, 10% of UA students were dual enrolled; by 2027, UA expects 14% of its students to be dual enrolled. Panelists who answered questions from the regents included superintendents from Fairbanks and Anchorage school districts and staff and faculty from across the system.

    Regents received an update on Title IX compliance and previewed the public awareness campaign, which will be launching this fall promoting the university system’s role in empowering Alaska’s economy.

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