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UA proposed budget emphasizes graduation initiatives

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will meet in Fairbanks
Wednesday, Nov. 2, to discuss the operating and capital budgets for
the next fiscal year.

The proposed operating budget for the 16-campus system emphasizes
limited but focused growth in certain areas, such as $1.5 million
toward efforts to improve graduation rates, including better academic
advising for students.  Other key areas that would receive additional
funding include high-demand job training in engineering, health and
biomedical fields, teacher education and workforce development.
Research important to Alaskans also would receive state funding under
the proposed plan.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. in Room 109 of the Butrovich
Building, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Public
testimony will begin shortly after that. The meeting is expected to
wrap up by 3 p.m.

The proposed operating budget for the UA System, which has campuses
from Ketchikan to Kotzebue, would be $924 million. Of that amount,
$368.2 million would come from the State of Alaska. The university
would generate the rest, $555.8 million, through federal dollars,
contracts, tuition, earnings from land leases and sales and other
revenue sources. If the board approves the budget, it would be a 3.7
percent increase in operating funds over the current fiscal year.

Enrollment at UA remains at all-time high levels, with more than
34,000 full- and part-time students attending across the system.
Student headcount growth is highest at Kenai Peninsula College, which
saw a 28 percent jump in students attending for fall 2011 compared to
the previous year.

The proposed capital budget continues the UA System’s emphasis on
addressing deferred maintenance, with no new construction projects
proposed for FY13, which begins July 1, 2012. At a proposed $202
million in state funds, UA's capital budget would put $137.5 million
toward deferred maintenance, including $37.5 million proposed by Gov.
Sean Parnell plus an additional $100 million toward reducing the
maintenance backlog. If approved, the capital budget also would set
aside $50 million for annual building renewal, which is based on a
formula that takes into account the replacement value of UA
facilities.

UA owns over 400 buildings across the state that total 6.6 million
square feet, with a total value of infrastructure worth more than $2
billion.

For a look at the complete agenda for Wednesday’s Board of Regents’
meeting, go to www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas.

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