UA Board of Regents approves first budget increase in four years

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Anchorage, KTUU — The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2019 — the first budget increase appropriated by the state legislature in four years.

“I am pleased to report that for the first time in four years, the legislature approved a budget increase for the university," UA President Jim Johnsen said in a statement Thursday. "This is great news and reflects a vote of confidence in the university, in our plans and in our leadership for Alaskans and our state.”

According to the statement, the UA Board of Regents approved the distribution of the $327 million in state unrestricted general funds approved by the legislature for FY19 — a $10 million increase from the previous year's budget.

At an address delivered to Commonwealth North in February, President Johnsen said that over the past four years, the university lost nearly 1,200 faculty and staff. The university has also seen a reduction in enrollment by more than 15 percent and more than 50 academic programs or degrees discontinued.

The university's operating budget will go toward operating cost increases and increased funding for STEM programs that will help supply Alaska's future workforce needs.

Capital budget funding will go toward the university's nearly $1 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects.

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