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SENATOR DENNIS EGAN February 16, 2009 Dear Colleague: We all got a letter last week from one of my constituents questioning what the state spends on the University of Alaska. It focused particularly on UA’s smallest branch, the University of Alaska Southeast. There’s always room to discuss state spending, but it helps to have the facts right when we do. The Chancellor of UAS does not receive a housing allowance. The state did not buy or lease him a car. While he has a university vehicle available for state business, he does not take it home – although he does pay taxes on its use. The president of the University system does not live in a house financed by the state. Private donors paid for the president’s house through the University of Alaska Foundation. I guess some folks’ research goes downhill when nobody’s grading it. The question of salary also came up. The president and the three chancellors of the university’s main branches are all paid less than 90 percent of the median for their counterparts at similar American universities. That means more than half of their colleagues at like institutions make more than they do. It’s a market-driven system, not one based on longevity, seniority, politics or Ouija board. Notably, the longest-serving chancellor is paid much less than his two counterparts. They’re also not paid on a per-student basis. Although if they were, the chancellor of UAS would have scored quite a raise recently. That’s because UAS enrollment is growing like gangbusters. This semester, UAS’ total student count is up 13.6 percent across all three campuses. And I’m proud to say the Juneau campus is leading the pack with 20.9 % growth. It’s no wonder class sizes have grown some. As legislators, we have work to do and an important role to play. I won’t pretend to love every choice the university has made. At the same time, almost 2/3 of Alaska high school grads who go to college choose UA – up from two of five in the 1990s. Alaska Native enrollment is up 25 percent since 1998. And UA is a great way to grow our own – whether it’s teachers, fish biologists or hardrock miners, nine of every ten UA graduates’ jobs are in Alaska. Those are verifiable facts about our university system. The faculty, staff, and yes, even the leadership seem to be doing a pretty good job for our state. I look forward to working with you to make the University’s – and Alaska’s – future brighter still. Sincerely,

Sen. Dennis Egan

--------------------------------------------------------ALASKA SENATE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------STATE CAPITOL • JUNEAU, ALASKA 99801-1182 • (907) 465-4947 • FAX (907) 465-2108 SENATOR.DENNIS.EGAN@LEGIS.STATE.AK.US

Letter From Senator Dennis Egan  

Response to a constiuant regarding concerns over UA Admin costs.