UAF funding comes from a variety of sources. About 35 percent is from state general funds and the remaining 65 percent comes from things like externally funded research activity, student tuition and fees, and auxiliary activities. Because a large percentage of the UAF budget comes from the state, and because the cost of doing business rises with inflation each year, even flat state funding has a sizable effect on UAF operations. In recent years, as state revenues declined, appropriations to the university have gone from flat to reduced. In FY19, UA received its first increase in state operating funds since FY14. This increased support was short-lived as FY20 state general fund (GF) appropriations were reduced for UA as a result of a multi-year budget reduction stepdown agreement.
UAF Budget Planning and Development Process
The budget planning process is conducted while considering several key documents: the state of Alaska Office of Management and Budget guidance, UA Statewide guidelines for budget development (including Board of Regents goals), the UAF mission statement and core themes, UAF’s Strategic Plan, the Enrollment Management Plan, and the Campus Master Plan. In addition, enrollment forecasts, economic projections, and facilities planning serve as guidelines in preparing the operating and capital requests. In consultation with Core Cabinet, the chancellor makes the final determination of UAF priorities.
The university’s financial planning timeframe is three to four years. Planning at the college, school, and department levels begins 22 to 28 months before the development of the budget request. This planning is based on the anticipated needs of the units in light of their own strategic plans and goals. Advance budget preparation as a whole normally begins 16 to 24 months prior to the beginning of the fiscal year for which the request is made.
The Planning and Budget Committee (PBC) consists of faculty, staff, executive leadership and governance delegates. PBC serves as the primary budget advisory body on UAF’s annual budget proposals. Co-chaired by the provost and the vice chancellor for administrative services, this body meets regularly during the planning process to review the operating and capital budget guidelines and recommend priorities for the annual budget request to the Chancellor.
The chancellor submits the final operating and capital request to the UA Statewide Office of Strategy, Planning and Budget. UAF’s budget request is rolled together with requests from the other two universities (UAA and UAS), and the UA System. The president, all three university chancellors, and key executive staff assemble the final system-wide budget for submission to the Board of Regents.