University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting takes a look forward at 2023 budget

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:34 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska leadership stressed stability during a UA Board of Regents meeting on Friday. The meeting opened with a discussion with consultant Dennis McMillian and wrapped up with a look ahead to the UA system budget for the 2023 fiscal year.

The board requested a budget of $280.8 million which is four million more than Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed budget for 2023. Either budget would mean an uptick for the UA system after eight years of budget cuts, according to the university. The budget in the 2022 fiscal year was $272.7 million, and was $277 million in fiscal year 2021.

“One of our messages is we’re turning the corner,” UA Interim President Pat Pitney said during Friday’s meeting. “But it’s far. This doesn’t get us out of the woods. I talk a lot about, we have a rebalancing year. ... We have areas where we know we’ve reduced too much, and have gone into the bone and we’re going to have to bring some capacity back. We have other areas where we have taken action but savings are yet to materialize because of the lag time from the action to the resulting savings. And that was partly why we had a very modest request of 3%. So yes it’s very important to know we’re turned a corner.”

Dunleavy’s proposed budget gives the University of Alaska $22.8 million through the American Rescue Plan. The ARP funding has to be spent on programs that help Alaska and would go towards the UA Drone Program ($10.0 million), Critical Minerals and Rare Earth Elements ($7.8 million) and Heavy Oil Recovery Method ($5 million).

From 2019 to 2022, overall revenue for the university system fell by $72.5 million, according to UA projections. Employment numbers have dipped. During the UA presentation on Friday they showed full-time employees were down 1,009 since 2013, and part-time employees have fallen by 1,409 in that same period.

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