Board of Regents asks Alaska for $13 million more

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will ask the Alaska Legislature for an additional $13.8 million in funding, according to the 2009 budget. The overall budget proposal is more than $856 million.

This proposal would increase the state level of support to $319.6 million, according to UA Statewide. This expanded state support would include $3.5 million toward UA research, $2.7 million for student success initiatives and $1.8 million for UAF’s Cooperative Extension Service.

The service offers community programs like community development through a partnership of UAF with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the College of Rural and Community Development in 26 villages in the Northwest Arctic Borough.

In addition, the augmentation in state support would leverage $16.6 million in university-generated revenue, according to the UA Board of Regents Agenda. Currently UA is generating more than $506 million.

In the 2008 budget, state funding and UA revenue combined for more than $798 million.

UA added 100 new degree and certificate programs that included health care, fisheries and engineering in the last nine years. The university now attracts more than 62 percent of Alaska high-school students, according to UA Statewide.

But UA reports that the $292.6 million of state funding for 2008 isn’t sufficient for it to cover the costs of compensation, utilities, health care and other operations.

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Kate Ripley of UA Statewide Public Affairs said once the state Legislature approves the budget, the Board of Regents will meet in June for appropriations.

The three top funding priorities for UA are health care, engineering and construction management, and fisheries, said Ripley.

“UAA definitely has these programs, would definitely get additional funding,” she added.

UAA is recognized as the statewide “mother ship” of health care programs, Ripley said. Health care would get $3.3 million in funding if the current proposal is fulfilled, Ripley said. That is an increase of more than $1 million from this year’s budget.

According to UA Statewide, other unranked projects on the budget list include a student recreation center at UAA, the second phase of UAA residential housing, research vessel dock improvements for UAF and improved broadband Internet connectivity.