Budget update: March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

The UAF Tuition and Fee committee, made up of faculty, staff, and students, began work in November 2019 to review our fee structure and make recommendations to reduce the number and complexity of fees charged to students. In my budget column on February 12, I provided a link to the January 2020 UAF Fee Structure Recommendation report and requested input. I have received some feedback to date and request that any additional input be received by Friday, March 6 at uaf.chancellor@alaska.edu.

In other budget news, the Planning and Budget Committee (PBC) held its first meeting last Thursday, February 27. The traditional role of the PBC was to review new proposals for the next budget cycle. That is to say, the committee meeting will review new initiatives this spring for the FY21 budget. More recently, however, the committee has needed to look at cost-saving opportunities. Additionally, given a new direction from statewide regarding tuition proposal development, we will be asking the committee to consider tuition and fees in conjunction with our budget development. The PBC is scheduled to meet again in three weeks with its individual review and ranking of the 44 initiative proposals received.

Because one of the jobs of the PBC is to look at initiatives that would be funded by “strategic initiative” allocations, some of its work may change with a recent development in the UA budget. At the board of regents (BOR) meeting on February 20-21, President Johnsen presented an update to his budget plan for FY21. The budget update presented on slide six is to eliminate strategic initiative funding across UA with a notation that “the intent to not require additional cuts/allocations for strategic initiatives in the FY21 operating budget.” This will have to be approved by the BOR in June. If approved, this reduces to a relatively small but important burden of reduction in a UAF planning context. PBC will still look at all of the proposals received as UAF could still reallocate to fund new initiatives if the return on investment warrants it. In addition, we will be looking closely to determine if this change in UA budget strategy impacts any of the previously allocated strategic initiatives.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a shared service business model proposal. They are being reviewed and summaries will be posted. Executive Officer Conley  will post summaries by late next week at which point we will solicit feedback as we evaluate how best to move forward.

Thank you for your continued efforts and support as we navigate the changes and capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.

Thank you for choosing UAF.