University of Alaska faces $50 million cut due to committee vote

(Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson)
University of Alaska Fairbanks (Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson)

The University of Alaska faces a $50 million budget cut, due to a legislative committee vote on Thursday.

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The conference committee voted five to one to adopt the House version of the university budget, which cuts $35 million more than the $15 million cut proposed by Governor Bill Walker.

The portion of the budget directly controlled by the Legislature would be $300 million, as opposed to Walker’s proposed $335 million.

University leaders have said the deeper cut could eliminate up to 500 jobs and lead to tuition rising by as much as 15 percent.

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Les Gara said the cut would lead to young people leaving the state. It will also cost grants from private foundations. Gara is the committee’s only minority-caucus member.

Fairbanks Republican Senator Pete Kelly said the cut is proof that in challenging times, everything is on the table.

Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at

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