UA Update: UA Board of Regents approves 5% tuition increase

Undergraduate in-state tuition for the entire University of Alaska, or UA, system will increase by 5% for the fall semester of 2020.

The universities of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast will be affected by the change. Non-resident and graduate tuition will not be increased. The Board of Regents met on Jan. 16 and 17 on the UAA campus to discuss and confirm the increase.

During the Jan. 16–17 meeting, the UA Board of Regents discusses and approves a 5% increase to resident undergraduate in-state tuition for the fall 2020 semester. Screenshot courtesy of the UA Board of Regents Youtube account.

The 5% tuition raise could increase revenue by an additional $7 million, assuming that current enrollment remains the same next year, UA President Jim Johnsen told the board. The current UA enrollment is 30,000 students across the three campuses.

USUAA proposed a resolution to the board that suggested cutting the tuition raise in half to 2.5% rather than 5%, according to Chancellor Cathy Sandeen’s Feb. 5 Just the Facts video.

However, the Board of Regents made the decision to move forward with the 5% increase.

Along with voting to increase tuition, the board will also require UA administration to invest $1.5 million of tuition revenue to financial aid. The revenue will be distributed across the three UA universities to help students who are affected by the increase.

“Our goal is to ensure that we have a sound university and have considered how the tuition increase will affect our students and that goal,” chair of the board Sheri Buretta said in a Jan. 17 UA press release. “We care deeply about our students and want to make sure those in need have access to adequate financial aid.”

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Originally, the board was scheduled to meet to discuss the 2021 fiscal year budget and vote on the tuition increase in November of 2019, but delayed the meeting to allow more time for student feedback. The meeting was also extended from one to two days. Jan. 17 served as a budget work session, where the board went into further detail about budgets for the university system, investments, expenditures and revenue, according to the UA press release.

Previously, the UA Board of Regents approved tuition increases for two consecutive years, Chancellor Sandeen said in the video. This time, however, the board only approved an increase for the following academic year. The administration plans to study the possibility of altering the tuition for the future as well, according to Chancellor Sandeen’s video.

The UA Board of Regents will hear statewide public testimonies on Feb. 10 and 20. They will also hold committee and subcommittee meetings on Feb. 6 and 13-14.