University of Alaska Considers Declaring Financial Exigency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2019

Next step for University of Alaska: Declaration of Financial Exigency

FAIRBANKS – The University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider a declaration of financial exigency as a result of the massive $136 million, or 41 percent reduction, to the university’s state-funded operating budget.

In a joint session concluded earlier Thursday, the Alaska Legislature failed to achieve the 45 vote supermajority required to override Governor Dunleavy’s veto of the university’s budget. The Governor’s veto was announced on June 28, just three days before the start of the fiscal year.

UA President Jim Johnsen will present the proposed declaration of financial exigency to the UA Board of Regents for consideration at its special meeting on Monday, July 15, and approval of that request is anticipated.

The Board of Regents will discuss options for UA system restructuring and plan to further consider those options on July 30.“This declaration
reflects a sharp turning point,” Johnsen said “financial exigency is an
action I never anticipated that this great university or its regents would
need to take. But every day we delay increases the size of the cuts
required.”

“As we face this action, I want to acknowledge the legislature for passing a responsible budget with a manageable $5 million cut, and recognize those legislators in Juneau who stood up for the university. To those 37, I say thank you. We appreciate your confidence in UA and your informed and inspired statements of support.”

Johnsen said the university’s budget reduction will be closer to $200
million given steps required to protect students, the costs of transition,
and projected impacts on non-state revenue sources including tuition,
federal grants and student fees are factored in.

In addition to the declaration of financial exigency, the Board of Regents
will discuss three organizational restructuring options for moving forward:

* Create a leaner UA by assigning each university a prorated share of
the budget reduction
* Eliminate one or more universities and/or community campuses
* Consolidate the university within a single accreditation with shared
courses and services

Johnsen said all three approaches will require close cooperation with the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the group that provides UA with institutional accreditation. Maintaining accreditation for UA programs is of paramount importance, and UA leadership will continue regular conversations with NWCCU.

The Board of Regents will hold its special full board meeting Monday, July 15, 1 to 3 p.m. in Fairbanks in room 204 Butrovich Building, 2025 Yukon Drive, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Teleconference sites will be open in Anchorage, in UAA Administration Building, Room 204 and in Juneau, in UAS Administration Building, Room 204.