UAA dealing with economic fallout from pandemic

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 12:02 PM AKDT
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The cost of COVID-19 is an ever-changing number, as industries across Alaska calculate the losses, and in some cases, the gains.

For the University of Alaska Anchorage, the sudden onslaught of changes due to the virus has cost UAA millions of dollars and that's expected to rise.

"At UAA, the immediate losses are in the range of $5 million", says Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, but she adds, " that's a moving target as we track the situation."

Just the relocation of the 430 residential students cost the university about $1 million in airline tickets and other related moving expenses.

"We gave every resident, who moved off campus, half of their money for their housing and pro-rated dining", says Interim Director of Residence Life, Ryan J. Hill.

UAA also provided some students with up to $500 from the student emergency fund, while the Federal Cares Act, paid up to $1 thousand dollars to eligible students.

UAA senior, Quacyya Cuaresma, says that funding helped students get through an already stressful situation.

"I think the big thing that affects students and myself is having to have the pressures of going to class and performing academically when you have so many other things to worry about".

The economic challenges, posed by the pandemic hit as UAA was already dealing with about $70 million in budget cuts over the next few years.

But UAA also benefited, in some ways, from the pandemic.

The Alaska Airlines Center was leased to the municipality to be used as a backup health facility.

There was also federal funding for the Business Enterprise Institute, which was deemed essential since it helps support businesses and entrepreneurs across Alaska.

So according to Chancellor Sandeen, "UAA not only has suffered some potential losses from this, but we've also really stepped up, and made a contribution to Anchorage and to Alaska at the same time."

A complex situation, as the university and its students, try to come through stronger on the other side.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All Rights Reserved.

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