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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2024

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

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

(FAIRBANKS) — Legislation containing several of the ’s (UA) top priorities has been signed into law by Governor Dunleavy.  expands the 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 students for the workforce by making post-secondary education more accessible and attainable. 

“All three of these programs were priorities for the university this year, and I’m very grateful to the Legislature and Governor Dunleavy for their support,” UA President Pat Pitney said. “UA is an economic engine that empowers . APS, TVEP, and the ETC are key programs for attracting students, providing high-quality workforce training and collaborating directly with industry to develop programs that meet their employment and research needs.”

The Performance Scholarship (APS)

HB148 expands flexibility and increases award amounts for the APS. residents who graduate from any 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 UA Board of Regents in May to expand the UA 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’s final passage.  

“The Performance Scholarship and the UA Scholars Program make education more accessible, and help us retain ’s best and brightest,” President Pitney remarked. I appreciate the willingness of the Legislature and Governor to invest in our students and our state’s workforce in such a meaningful way, and extend my thanks to Representative Ruffridge and Senator Dunbar for their work on this legislation.”

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

Technical Vocation and Education Program (TVEP)

UA empowers ’s 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 ’s workforce needs, under HB148, the sunset was eliminated, and funding for the program increased. Last year, UA trained 4,888 students - 57% of all TVEP participants - with just 45% of the program’s budget. 

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

“UA is ’s largest and most comprehensive workforce provider, offering more than 200 career and technical education programs,” President Pitney commented. “Reauthorizing TVEP is an investment in workforce development and stabilizing ’s economy for future growth, and I’m 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.”

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

Education Tax Credit (ETC)

The State Legislature established the Education Tax Credit in 1987 to encourage businesses to make charitable contributions to ’s educational institutions. It incentivizes targeted investments in UA 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 Löki Tobin carried versions of the ETC expansion bill this session.

“Over its lifetime, the ETC has provided millions of dollars in support for University of Alaska’s students, and deepened partnerships between UA and the business community,” said President Pitney. “Its extension and expansion will benefit our entire state by making post-secondary education and workforce training more accessible for students. I’m 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 UA on this bill.”

In addition to education, economic, and workforce benefits, the ETC provides 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