Back to school for UAA students, ending angst-ridden 7 months
After nearly seven months of funding uncertainty, the University Alaska Anchorage campus welcomed students for the fall semester.
In February, Gov. Mike Dunleavy revealed an amended budget that called for cutting more than $130 million in state funding.
On Aug. 13, Dunleavy agreed to spread $70 million worth of cuts over three years.
On Monday, students returned to campus, some relieved over scaled back cuts, but others still feeling unsure about some university programs.
“I think there’s just a lot of uncertainty,” said senior journalism major Suzanne Fonova. “It’s hard going back to school not knowing what the future holds or if my major can be cut at any time.”
Others say it simply feels good to be on campus with their friends.
“It’s really nice. The tuition only went up 5%, which is really big relief for me, especially because I’m somebody who needs financial aid,” said Morgan Wiegele, who is studying to be a dental assistant. "I'm not somebody with a lot of money, I come from a middle-class family. It's really nice that the tuition didn't go up an exponential amount."
Wiegele said a visit to UAA would show those pushing for more cuts just what a difference the university makes.
“I would tell them come visit, come talk to the students,” she said. “A lot of the students don’t want [cuts], a lot of the students that need financial aid, they’ll stop going to higher education.”
UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said Monday it was business as usual on campus. She said the mood seemed normal in spite of Fonova and other students considering transferring amidst concerns over the university's future.
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