UAF campus

The setting sun illuminates buildings on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in April 2019.  

University of Alaska enrollment has declined overall this semester, but the Fairbanks campus has seen an uptick in students at two of its colleges since September of last year.

Enrollment was one of the subjects discussed by UA President Johnsen and Board of Regents Chairman John Davies in a Tuesday morning meeting with the Daily News-Miner editorial board.

In July this year, while a $135 million cut to state funding for the university was still on the table, Johnsen said he anticipated it would be “brutally difficult” to attract students in this type of budget climate. In late August, Davies and Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a compact that instead outlines a plan for a $70 million cut over the next three years.

The school year has since started and Johnsen confirmed enrollment has dropped a bit this year.

“There are some ups, but it’s down overall, as we expected,” he said. “It’s not nearly down as far as we thought it might be.”

Johnsen said the university is still accepting late registration, so numbers for the year are not yet final.

Headcount data from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Early Semester Report released Sept. 2 compares headcounts from Sept. 3, 2018, to Sept. 2, 2019. The report is available from the UAF Planning, Analysis and Institutional Research website.

Overall, the report indicates the fall 2019 headcount to date for the UA system is 21,117. For fall 2018, the report lists a headcount of 23,492. This indicates a 10.1% drop.

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, enrollment dropped from 7,464 in fall 2018 to 7,092 for fall 2019, a 5% decrease.

However, as of this most recent report report, student headcounts increased this year in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the UAF College of Liberal Arts.

Thus far, the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences has 18 more students than this time last year, with a current headcount of 261. And the College of Liberal Arts has gained 69 students since this time last year, with a current headcount of 3,006.

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter at