Weekly budget update: Aug. 30

August 30, 2019

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

On August 20, chancellors received an FY20 budget distribution guidance memo from President Johnsen. The memo outlined reduction targets, guiding principles, and requested the chancellors submit a plan to meet the FY20 budget targets by August 23. 

The Governor’s budget included a reduction of $25 million to the universities’ unrestricted general fund (UGF). In addition, President Johnsen is proposing an additional $9.1 million in reductions for investment in strategic initiatives ($5 million), and compensation and Title IX ($4.1 million). The President’s memo set UAF’s reduction target at $17 million to be met across specific categories. Earlier this spring, UAF had already accounted for $9.5 million in reductions as part of the continuation budget planning, and now needs to find an additional $7.5 million in savings. Overall, the President’s direction included the following guidance: 

  • Administration - $7.8 million

  • Academic programs & Student Services - $6.2 million

  • Research - $1.7 million

  • Public Service - $1.2 million 

In my response to the President, I described UAF’s approach as follows:

  • 10% GF Reduction - $9.5 million

    • This reduction was already proposed during the continuation budgeting processing for FY20 and included a multitude of unit reductions within procurement, services, travel and reduced staffing.

  • Remaining reduction needed - $7.5 million

  • Facilities and Administration - $2.5 million 

    • Through statewide consolidations of central university administration, the system office will find $5 million in savings and portions will be attributed to the universities. UAF is anticipating being able to count $2.5 million from these savings.

    • Reduce $2.5 million in facility maintenance expenses. 

  • Academic Program & Student Services - $1.3 million

    • Expedited program review of academic programs and general units will begin this fall 2019 at the system level. We are estimating that some funds will be saved through potential reduction of faculty contracts within eliminated programs but due to teach-out requirements, one-time bridge funding will be required. 

  • Research - $700K 

    • Application of an unallocated reduction will be applied to units supporting organized research. The purpose of an unallocated reduction is to allow unit leaders to make the best choices for their units.

  • Public Service - $500K

When creating a plan to meet the additional $7.5 million, some restrictions were applied and some restrictions were lifted from previous budgeting exercises. To meet the new reduction, UAF will use one-time bridge funding where possible due to delayed implementation or processing time required.  Per the President’s memo, UAF will protect funds within Advancement functions (Development, University Relations, Alumni) and Title IX.

As we continue to move through the budget exercise and adjustments, I will keep you updated. At this time, the next step is approval of the budget distribution plan by the Board of Regents on September 12.