ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — The University of Alaska is looking at ways to cover its costs in the event that Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget be passed by the legislature as written, including potentially selling university assets to make ends meet.
The budget was a heavily discussed topic at Commonwealth North's annual shareholders report Wednesday, where UA President Jim Johnsen was on hand to address the university's concerns about the proposed budget.
"By reducing our budget, we negatively impact economic development in Alaska generally," Johnsen said. "By reducing our budget, we negatively affect workforce development. So will we be able to train as many nurses, teachers, welders, engineers, accountants, and on down the list? The answer is no."
Reducing or cutting school programs could be on the horizon for UA, with the governor's proposed $134 million reduction in state funding for the university for the coming fiscal year.
Johnson says the UA Board of Regents is looking at potentially cutting even more jobs than they have in the past, and even selling assets like land, buildings, and intellectual property, including valuable university-funded research.
"It's off campus facilities that we have here in Anchorage, and Fairbanks, also in Juneau, so we'll have to look at those buildings," Johnsen said. "Those may very well go on the market. We won't need them anymore because we will have so many fewer people to even need those buildings. So I think a lot of people are going to try to sell assets if this budget happens, to try to mitigate the negative effects more broadly to our economy if that happens."
Johnsen says that contrary to rumors, the university won't be doubling the cost of attendance, but university officials are anticipating a tuition increase.