A look back at Alaska’s congressional delegation and the work they have done for UA this session

Alaska’s three-member congressional delegation –– made up of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Republican Rep. Don Young –– took important steps last session to assist the University of Alaska in a number of critical ways including securing CARES Act funding for higher education institutes and taking steps to address UA’s still unfulfilled land grant promise. 

In 1915, federal legislation granted land to the Territory of Alaska to support the "Territorial Agricultural College and School of Mines" along with each Section 33 (640 acres per section) located in each township of the Tanana Valley. In 1929, federal legislation granted an additional 100,000 acres of land to the Territory of Alaska, for the exclusive use and benefit of the Agricultural College and School of Mines.

With the passage of the Alaska Statehood Act in 1958, the 1915 Act was repealed. In 1959, when Alaska became a state, only a small percentage of the Federal grant lands from the Acts of 1915 and 1929 had been conveyed to the University. Consequently, the State of Alaska received over 104 million acres from the Federal Government, more than any other state. As a result, the University received a smaller land grant for higher education than any other state except for Delaware. Securing additional land grants would significantly enhance UA Land Management's ability to generate investable income to support University programs.

To address the issue, Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan introduced the University of Alaska Fiscal Foundation Act in the Senate and Rep. Young introduced the same legislation in the House.

“As we navigate these unprecedented times, the University of Alaska will continue to play a critical role by providing quality education to young Alaskans and future generations,” Murkowski said. “This legislation will fulfill the University of Alaska’s land grant for the benefit of its students and help provide a permanent foundation to support higher education in Alaska. This is key to a healthy and vibrant future for our state.”

Alaska’s congressional delegation also worked to reauthorize a Federal Arctic Energy Office located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

We thank our congress members for taking such critical steps this session to help UA continue its mission to serve Alaskans.