University Of Alaska Cuts 40 Academic Programs, Including Chemistry
Alaska’s public university system is eliminating a series of degree and certificate programs in light of financial hardships to stay afloat, reports Alaska Public Media. With downsized state funding and declining enrollment, the university system struggled even before the hardships from the COVID-19 crisis.
- Shrinking revenue caused the administration to deescalate the university programs offered, thus eliminating about 40 options and reducing or merging many others. The system’s cuts will save the University around $4 million.
- The University of Alaska Board of Regents made the call in order to mitigate financial hardship. After months of review, UA had to make difficult decisions despite pushback from students, faculty, and community members about the value and uniqueness of certain programs.
- These cuts include chemistry, sociology, geography, theater, environmental science, and Earth science.
- The nearly 700 students enrolled in the eliminated programs will still be able to complete their degree or certificate.
- Regent Karen Perdue said this is the largest reduction of programs in recent memory and is indicative of UA’s dire financial situation.
“The choices are difficult,” Perdue said in a statement. “Hard questions have been asked and refinements have been made.”
In addition to program cuts, Regents discussed other ways to cut back financially, including restructuring debt, suspending pay increases, and furloughs. A proposal to merge UAS programs into the Fairbanks and Anchorage universities raised significant controversy.
The financial hardships of University of Alaska spurred drastic changes in the university's constitution as a source of intellectual growth and research. It remains to be seen how the measures of the UA system will impact the institution’s output and appeal with the start of the school year.