Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas want to
Save Alaska’s University System
Rebuilding the University system is a top priority for our administration
It was just a few years ago there were front-page headlines about the University considering closing entire campuses. It’s hard to imagine Juneau without UAS, Fairbanks without UAF, or Anchorage without UAA. Tearing down these institutions that took more than a hundred years to build is exactly the kind of thing we’re running to stop.
The University of Alaska is an economic engine unto itself that must be invested in. How many Alaskans came up to school here and ended up staying and contributing to our economy? The University system brings in tens of millions of federal dollars each year, and could be the hub for everything Arctic in the US. We need to recapture that energy.
A thriving UA contributes to economic success outside of its campuses. Imagine a world where young 20-somethings move to Alaska not just for our University system, but for our trail systems, and thriving communities, a world where those 20-somethings graduate from our universities and then find affordable places to live where they can walk to work, restaurants, bars and other amenities.
Alaska should be a place where young people want to stay and others want to come to, and when that happens, we create an economic foundation for the state’s future. Those future Alaskans will not be able to stay as long as politicians like the current governor continue to trash UA.
We will protect the University from further cuts and we will start chipping away at its nearly billion dollar deferred maintenance list. We’ll work with the system to increase enrollment at all our universities, something that comes when we make strategic and innovative investments to grow and reshape our economy.
Billions of dollars in federal money are available to states and communities around the country. Many of those funds will be disbursed on a competitive basis, we won’t get them by sitting on our hands. These funds will be transformative for our state if we can get them. The University is the perfect place to house a program to begin training grant writers and researchers to ensure Alaska gets the maximum benefit from those funds.
Combining reinvestments into the University, like protecting the Alaska Performance Scholarship into perpetuity, and repairing its buildings, while growing our economy to attract new students is a recipe for higher education and economic success.
In Summary We Will:
- Protect the University from further cuts
- Rebuild UA’s deteriorating infrastructure
- Invest in and expand the Alaska Performance Scholarship and WWAMI Program
- Develop a strategy to bring US Arctic Policy to UA
- Leverage UA’s expertise to chase billions in transformative federal funds
- Get more students in seats by repairing our economy