The University of Alaska Board of Regents unanimously adopted the university’s FY18 operating budget plan today at an emergency meeting, emphasizing the budget’s investment in strategic priorities even though the budget was cut by the legislature.“Four years in a row of cuts is tough, but we must invest in high priority areas,” said UA President Jim Johnsen. “These investments underscore our commitment to the high quality academic work that happens in every classroom and laboratory across every UA campus.”
The $6 million for strategic investment areas includes student success/enrollment, research, workforce and online program development, and process automation/improvement. The strategic investment areas incorporate a variety of specific initiatives, including an aggressive enrollment marketing, recruitment and retention program; growing research capacity; expanding online course availability especially in high demand fields like nursing; and improving efficiency of back office systems in departments like student services, human resources, and finance. Strategic investments will be funded with reallocations or allotments from each university.
Last week, the Legislature passed a state operating budget, funding the university at $317 million unrestricted general funds (UGF). This is a $8 million cut from the FY17 state appropriation and results in a $11 million budget gap after factoring in fixed cost increases. At this funding level, a mid-year tuition increase will not be necessary. The emergency meeting was necessary for the board to accept the FY18 appropriation and provide approval for the university to expend funds, per Regents policy.
All Board of Regents meeting agendas are available online at www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas.