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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2024

Governor Dunleavy signs University of Alaska priority legislation to support student success, workforce development 

House Bill 148 expands Alaska Performance Scholarship program, reauthorizes key VoTech funding, and expands education tax credits

(FAIRBANKS) 鈥 Legislation containing several of the University of Alaska鈥檚 (多多直播) top priorities has been signed into law by Governor Dunleavy.  expands the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS), reauthorizes the Technical Vocation and Education Program (TVEP), and extends the Education Tax Credit (ETC) program. Together, the changes will help prepare and develop Alaska students for the workforce by making post-secondary education more accessible and attainable. 

鈥淎ll three of these programs were priorities for the university this year, and I鈥檓 very grateful to the Legislature and Governor Dunleavy for their support,鈥 多多直播 President Pat Pitney said. 鈥湺喽嘀辈 is an economic engine that empowers Alaska. APS, TVEP, and the ETC are key programs for attracting Alaska students, providing high-quality workforce training and collaborating directly with industry to develop programs that meet their employment and research needs.鈥

The Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS)

HB148 expands flexibility and increases award amounts for the APS. Alaska residents who graduate from any Alaska high school and meet eligibility requirements can receive the award. All three levels of the APS award will increase between $1,100 and $2,200 per academic year, with expanded student eligibility. Most importantly, students will know they are eligible for the award after their junior year rather than after graduation. The changes follow a vote by the 多多直播 Board of Regents in May to expand the 多多直播 Scholars Program to increase flexibility and award amounts.

Representative Justin Ruffridge and Senator Forrest Dunbar carried versions of the APS expansion this session. Their leadership was key to the bill鈥檚 final passage.  

鈥淭he Alaska Performance Scholarship and the 多多直播 Scholars Program make education more accessible, and help us retain Alaska鈥檚 best and brightest,鈥 President Pitney remarked. I appreciate the willingness of the Legislature and Governor to invest in our students and our state鈥檚 workforce in such a meaningful way, and extend my thanks to Representative Ruffridge and Senator Dunbar for their work on this legislation.鈥

The APS is administered by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. More information about APS and the changes in HB 148 can be found at .

Technical Vocation and Education Program (TVEP)

多多直播 empowers Alaska鈥檚 workforce through certificate and degree training programs across the state. TVEP supports education and training in essential workforce areas like construction, heavy-duty equipment operations and maintenance, maritime navigation, and many others. The program was slated to sunset on July 1. Recognizing the importance of the program in helping meet Alaska鈥檚 workforce needs, under HB148, the sunset was eliminated, and funding for the program increased. Last year, 多多直播 trained 4,888 students - 57% of all TVEP participants - with just 45% of the program鈥檚 budget. 

Representative Ashley Carrick was a key advocate for TVEP reauthorization. Senators Click Bishop and Donny Olson ensured that 多多直播 received the amount of funds needed to sustain the program.

鈥湺喽嘀辈 is Alaska鈥檚 largest and most comprehensive workforce provider, offering more than 200 career and technical education programs,鈥 President Pitney commented. 鈥淩eauthorizing TVEP is an investment in workforce development and stabilizing Alaska鈥檚 economy for future growth, and I鈥檓 grateful to the Governor and Legislature for prioritizing the program. I especially appreciate Representative Carrick, and Senators Bishop and Olson and their collaboration with us on this.鈥

TVEP underscores 多多直播鈥檚 role in educating and retaining a quality workforce for the state. Since 2011, 26,948 students have graduated from 多多直播 programs relevant to Alaska鈥檚 high-demand industries - and 94% of working 多多直播 graduates are Alaska residents.

Education Tax Credit (ETC)

The Alaska State Legislature established the Education Tax Credit in 1987 to encourage businesses to make charitable contributions to Alaska鈥檚 educational institutions. It incentivizes targeted investments in 多多直播 student scholarships, research, centers of excellence, facilities, and internships that address industry demands. HB 148 increases the 50% tax credit for contributions to educational institutions from $1 million to $3 million, and extends the sunset date through 2029.

Representative Ruffridge, Representative Julie Coulombe, and Senators Jessie Bjorkman and Lki Tobin carried versions of the ETC expansion bill this session.

鈥淥ver its lifetime, the ETC has provided millions of dollars in support for Alaska鈥檚 students, and deepened partnerships between 多多直播 and the business community,鈥 said President Pitney. 鈥淚ts extension and expansion will benefit our entire state by making post-secondary education and workforce training more accessible for students. I鈥檓 grateful to the entire Legislature and the Governor for their support, and extend special thanks to Representatives Ruffridge and  Coulombe, and Senators Bjorkman and Tobin for their partnership and work with 多多直播 on this bill.鈥

In addition to education, economic, and workforce benefits, the ETC provides Alaska with the ultimate return on investment, leveraging $2 in private investment in education for each $1 the state forgoes in tax revenue.

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For more information, contact Jonathon Taylor, director of public affairs at 907-350-0168 (cell), or via email at jonathon.taylor@alaska.edu