- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - An anticipated budget gap next year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks could be made up in part by shifting to more online programs and cutting support for public broadcasting, according to a list of suggestions prepared by a review committee.

A planning and budget committee has worked since December to suggest ways to close an expected budget gap of $12 million to $14 million. Suggestions range from minor administrative adjustments to sweeping changes, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/1i8tJgS) reported.

Co-chairwoman Pat Pitney, vice chancellor for administrative services, said moves made this year will likely be “tip of the iceberg reductions” compared to upcoming cuts.

Possible cuts unveiled Wednesday include an extension of winter breaks and other closures, which could save money on utilities and salaries.

The committee suggested hiring people with voluntary 11-month employee contracts where appropriate and holding vacant employee positions open for 90 days.

Making more full-degree programs online could boost student enrollment and tuition revenues, according to the committee. Members suggested conducting an academic review to eliminate duplicate or low-enrollment areas.

A reduction of administrative travel by 20 percent and fewer senior-level administrators were also suggested.

Savings also could be seen by cutting support for KUAC public radio and television broadcasting as part of a “transition to self-support,” the committee said.

Options will be reviewed by administrators who will make a recommendation to UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. He will make a final recommendation in about a month, Pitney said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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