The University of Alaska received its new budget this week from Alaska lawmakers. Although the university did receive more money than expected, the budget, $335 million from the state, is approximately $15 million less than last year’s budget.
The $909.8 million budget approved by the Board of Regents is expected to cut jobs and programs throughout the state.
The reductions to the University of Alaska include three programs being cut, 10 being suspended, and 579 positions being eliminated across the state.
The University of Alaska received about $35 million more than anticipated. This extra money is being used to avoid tuition increases.
The University of Alaska Anchorage will see a reduction in 209 positions and nine programs offered through UAA are being suspended. These nine programs include environmental regulations and permitting graduate certificate, Kodiak College AAS computer systems technology, Kodiak College AAS computer information and office systems, Kodiak College construction technology and industrial safety Support Undergraduate Certificate, master of civil engineering, master of science in arctic engineering, graduate certificate in coastal, ocean, and port engineering, graduate certificate in earthquake engineering, and bachelor in music in performance.
Student body president, Sam Erickson, is ready to take on the challenges that comes with the foreseen cuts, seeing it as an opportunity for student voices to be heard.
“The specter of budget reductions is certainly a daunting one, but I feel that it also presents a great opportunity for student leadership, and a chance for our voices to be heard and considered regarding serious issues. I’m aware of the challenges, but optimistic for both the future of UAA and its student body,” Erickson said.
Erickson is concerned with deficits in deferred maintenance on university buildings and loss of faculty due to program suspensions.
“Buildings to teach in and teachers to do so are absolutely necessary to a functioning university, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that these areas receive the attention and funding they require,” Erickson said.
The University of Alaska will not be seeing the projected tuition hikes this year. There will still be a five percent tuition increase in the fall that was approved by the Board of Regents last November.