November 11, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2022
UA Board of Regents adopts FY24 budgets, union contracts during its November 10-11 meeting
The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the FY24 operating and capital budgets during its November 10-11 meeting in Fairbanks.
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 also includes $12.7 million state funding for compensation increases for university employees and union members whose contracts were approved during the meeting, and $6.8 million 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.
“I am committed to our employees who stayed with the university after years of no or minimal compensation increases,” said Pitney.
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. Due to many years of unfunded deferral of critical projects, there is an increasing risk and evidence of building closures, and a deferred maintenance/renewal & 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 academic year 2024 remain flat across the system including community campuses, except for lower division undergraduate tuition at University of Alaska Fairbanks Troth Yeddha campus. This 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 concessions 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.
Regents reviewed the priority focus areas and targets for the Board of Regents' Goals and Measures approved in February 2022. Increasing student enrollment remains the top priority of the eight focus areas and 31 measures supporting the goals.
“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.”
Friday morning featured a ‘Did You Know’ video presentation about the university system’s role in global Arctic leadership and Arctic research excellence. The video features experts in climate research, Arctic engineering, public policy and national security. During the panel discussion, Regents learned about the important role that UA researchers play in informing the state, communities, and Alaskan leaders on a wide array of Arctic issues that affect industry and policy decisions.
“Alaska’s influence in the Arctic’s growing importance means engaging at every level – from international diplomacy to climate research to personal health – and that’s because the arctic is a connected landscape, an integrated ocean, people and land system, with shared needs,” said Pitney. “It continues to be critically important for Alaska to build strategic and scientific knowledge and exert its role in the global Arctic.”
The board celebrated Regents John Davies, Lisa Parker, J. Scott Jepsen, and Sheri Buretta whose terms end in February 2023 and approved resolutions of appreciation in honor of their excellent service to the University of Alaska system.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents is an 11-member volunteer board, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alaska State Legislature. Members serve an 8-year term, with the exception of the student regent who is nominated from his/her campus and serves a 2-year term. The board was established through the Alaska Constitution and is responsible for University of Alaska policy and management through the university president.
– 30 –
For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).