HB 21 Faculty Regent
This bill would add a regent who would be a current faculty member. This had four hearings, but did not progress out of House Finance.
HB 285/ SB 166 GO Bond
This bill would provide funds for infrastructure through general obligation bonds. Money is designated for the Anchorage "Northern Access" road (Bragaw extension) and for renovation of two buildings in Fairbanks. The northern access funds do not allow for building the road in its optimal structure. The House version did not leave House Finance, and the Senate version did not leave Senate Finance.
SB 32 Middle Colleges
This bill establishes the Alaska Middle College program and requires reporting on the middle colleges. Establish in this case does not imply that new middle colleges must be created, but rather that they be an option for every student in the state. The bill neither specifies how this will be achieved, nor more importantly provides any funding to do it.
Middle Colleges are a high school run by the university which enables students to simultaneously complete high school requirements and earn college credits. They have been very effective tools for many students in urban areas (Anchorage, Palmer/Wasilla). Their success depends on taking place on a university campus and having direct contact with university advisors (Middle College staff). None has been operated remotely, though there are other dual enrollment programs for remote learning.
Creating a middle college where there is no university building and interactions with students is solely remote is problematic. This bill does not address this issue.
Students can only take advantage of the program if they are prepared when they reach their junior year. Neither the middle colleges nor this bill addresses the needs to prepare students for the opportunity nor inform their family what is required to prepare.
This bill was passed by the Senate and did not make it out of the House at the end of the term.
SB 146 Textbook Cost
This bill would require notification at registration of all course costs with specific listings for no cost and low cost materials.
Note that federal law already requires that textbook information be provided at registration. The universities already are noting sections with zero and low cost material. This bill does not provide funding to update the student information system (UAonline) which is needed to make this information easier to find.
The effective date was changed at request of the university system.
The bill ended in Senate Finance where it did not receive a hearing.
SB 164 Appropriations
This bill would provide funds for student IT updates. Banner, the software underlying UAonline must be updated in a few years. We are uncertain if this money would fund that work.
The Student IT portion was added to the budget bill which passed.