UA budget cuts reduced to $70 million

On Aug. 13, University of Alaska representatives reached an agreement with Gov. Mike Dunleavy to spread total funding reductions of $70 million to the university over the course of three years.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

While $70 million, nearly half of the original $136 million in reductions, is still a sizeable cut, the new plan is more manageable, UA President Jim Johnsen said in an email on Aug. 13.

“By restoring the Legislature’s appropriated funding for this year, and by spreading reductions out over the next two years, the required restructuring can be done more methodically, with less impact on students,” Johnsen said.

The step-down state general fund reduction will start with $25 million in cuts in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Twenty million dollars will be withheld in fiscal year 2022.

The Board of Regents is still moving forward with the single accreditation plan. This includes administrative consolidation this fall semester, Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said in a video on Aug. 14. Hiring, traveling and procurement restrictions also remain. However, furloughs were canceled.

A series of workshops will also be hosted from Aug. 19-23 to collect input on consolidating duplicative programs including Health, Science / Arts / Humanities, Management / Business, Research, Engineering, Education, eLearning and CTE / Community Campuses. 

A rally will occur on Sept. 9 from 4-6 p.m., a week before the Board of Regents meeting on Sept. 12-13. 

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In the meantime, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take a survey to make their academic priorities known as the Board of Regents discusses structural changes.

“Yes, the road ahead will be difficult, but it’ll be possible with all of you on board,” Johnsen said in a video on Aug 14.