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UA Regents to Focus on Budget at Anchorage Meeting

Submitted by Nile Mueller
Phone: (907) 474-5467


Regents of the University of Alaska will begin their Nov. 12 budget meeting in Anchorage by hearing testimony on matters directly related to the university's FY04 budget requests and tuition.

Budget considerations will dominate the daylong meeting, which is to begin at 8 a.m. in the UAA Commons on the UAA campus in Anchorage. The meeting will begin with testimony, which will be limited to three minutes per individual.

Starting point for the operating budget consideration will be the administration's recommendation that the university request an increase of $13.6 million in general fund and an increase of $22.1 million in authority to receive revenue from other sources for the FY04 operating budget.

By law, the university must request receipt authority for the revenue it generates itself and for federal and other grants. The total university budget must be authorized by the legislature regardless of the source of the funds.

Last year the university received $211.1 million in general funds and $400.6 million in receipt authority for a total operating budget of $611.7 million. The administration's proposed request for FY04 is $224.7 million in general funds and $422.6 million in receipt authority for a total budget of $647.3 million.

The administration's proposed request of a $13.6 million increase in general funds represents a 6.4 percent increase over FY03. The overall proposed budget for FY04 of $647.3 million is 5.8 percent over the FY03 authorized budget. The proposed budget request was developed using assumptions that include a 5 percent enrollment increase and a tuition rate increase of 10 percent above the FY03 tuition rate. The administration is also proposing a 10 percent increase for FY05.

Tuition at the University of Alaska has increased annually by about 3.5 percent each year since 1995. It has been calculated based on the rate of inflation using HEPI (Higher Education Price Index). President Mark Hamilton is recommending that for next year there be an increase of approximately 6.4 percent in addition to the HEPI increase of 3.6 percent, for a total increase of 10 percent.

Nationally, the average tuition and fees increased 9.6 percent from 2001-02 to 2002-03. During the same period, tuition and fees at the University of Alaska increased only 3.3 percent.

The administration's proposed capital budget request for FY04 includes $42.4 million in state funds and $108.5 in receipt authority. UA's FY04 capital budget request will be submitted in the context of the university's capital budget needs between FY04 and FY09. The six-year capital plan includes $45 million average per year in state funds over the next six years.

Last year the university received $2.9 million in state capital funds and $17.2 million in receipt authority. In addition, the legislature included $61.7 million for university capital projects in the general obligation education bond issue and $19.4 million in state debt service reimbursement financing for a total $101 million of FY03 capital appropriations.

In other business, the regents will consider approval of this year's (FY03) UA Natural Resources Fund budget. Similar to last year, the budget includes a provision or designation of $436,500 to fund land management operating costs, $150,000 for the NOAA/UA fisheries research project facility and $2 million for the UA Scholars Program prior to making an allocation to resources-related and other programs.

All meetings of the Board of Regents and its committees, except for executive sessions, are open to the public.

On the day of the meeting, messages may be left at the University Commons at (907) 751-7200 and the messages should indicate that they are for participants in the Board of Regents' meeting.

For more information contact Bob Miller, Director, University of Alaska Office of Public Affairs, at (907) 474-6311.