Regents challenge scholarship phase-out
In a recent meeting, the Board of Regents unanimously passed a declaration of support for the Alaska Performance Scholarship, in the hopes of saving the program.
The state’s proposal to end the Alaska Performance Scholarship several weeks ago on April 3 aroused contention from the UA community. The scholarship program provided students with incentive to remain in state for school, in the form of scholarships based on their high school GPA and SAT scores which could be used in the UA school system. The loss of the program has the potential to impact enrollment in UA schools, as information presented in the meeting indicated four out of five students who received the scholarship state that it effected their decision on which school to attend.
The budget reductions have resulted in a loss of jobs with 927 UA positions having been cut since 2015. The potential for an even smaller budget has the board of Regents preemptively planning for the worst, with a possible mid-year increase in tuition and further decreases in service hours and employment, as well as further reductions to non-essential costs by streamlining bureaucratic processes within the university. This has some board of regent members worried for the future of the university.
Congress is proposing a UA funding budget as low as 303 million, which with previous cuts would add up to a 20 percent reduction in state funding in the last two years. On Thursday April 13 the UAF Board of Regents held a meeting to discuss the potential cut in state funding they may face in the coming fiscal year.
“It feels like death by a thousand cuts.” said UAF Regent John Davies. “We should be clear that we do not find this acceptable.”
UA plans to organize a postcard writing campaign with the hope of swaying legislator in favor of a larger budget before the proposed cut goes to a vote.