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University of Alaska Suspends Programs Review, Single Accreditation

For now, the University of Alaska has put its plans on consolidating the entire university system into a single accredited university on hold.

On Tuesday, the Board of Regents in a meeting voted to delay its two decisions made after state Governor Michael J. Dunleavy made drastic budget cuts.

Along with the single accreditation, the regents suspended system-wide expedited academic program review process.

“I don’t see it as being reactionary,” said Regent Lisa Parker, “but as being responsive to the constituents we are supposed to serve.”

Last month, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) had written a letter to the university seeking various clarifications including the roles and responsibilities of university leaders.

In June, Dunleavy vetoed $130 million in the university’s operating budget. Following a $5 million cut previously approved by the state legislature, this $135 million slash represented 41 percent of UA’s current state funding level of $327 million.

In August, both sides signed a multi-year compact agreement that would cut $70 million in state funding instead of the one-time $135 million slash. During the current fiscal year, the university budget will be reduced by $25 million, while the next two fiscal years will see additional reductions of up to $45 million.

Currently, the university is rated Baa1 for its credit and Baa3 for its Series 2012 Lease Revenue Bonds rating and currently owes for several of its buildings, including the UAF Engineering Building, the UAA University Center and the UAF Power Plant.

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