November 05, 2008
The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved a budget when it met last week that places K-12 partnerships and outreach, engineering, energy, health, climate change and workforce programs as top priorities.
The $345 million request for state investment in the university's 16-campus system now goes to the governor for consideration. The governor crafts the state budget in December and presents it to the Legislature in January.
The university generates its own money from tuition, research grants and other income for a total FY10 budget of $849.6 million.
"This budget strengthens our partnerships within the public school system and the state Department of Education and Early Development, and provides funding to better support those students once they come to the university," said Board Chair Mary K. Hughes. "The budget also reflects our commitment to double the number of engineers we graduate by 2012, positions the university as a national and even global leader in energy solutions and climate change, and invests in critical workforce programs, including health."
The university's enrollment in high-demand degree programs is at record levels, according to university statistics. Those programs include nursing, allied health, behavioral health, engineering, welding, computer networking, construction management and technology, information technology and many others. In addition, UA's undergraduate retention rate also is at a record high for the institution.
"When you look at how we're measuring performance, we're doing very well," said Regent Tim Brady.
Public turnout at the one-day meeting was considerable, with many students and employers speaking in support of engineering, biology, indigenous studies, health and clinical training and other programs.
In addition to the $2.6 million for K-12 outreach and partnerships such as Tech Prep, summer bridging programs, testing and placement, the operating budget also includes the following:
UA's proposed capital budget, at nearly $400 million, puts a top priority on maintaining existing facilities and equipment ($50 million); a new Life Sciences Building at UAF ($82 million); campus entrance improvements at UAS in Juneau ($4 million); the second installment toward a new UAA Sports Arena, ($65 million); and reduce a major maintenance backlog across the UA system ($150 million).
In other business, the board also:
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