University of Washington Alumni Association
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Columns Votes - March 2006
About 20 years ago, the state's higher education board created a list of 24 peer institutions for the UW. Lawmakers set a goal: fund the UW so that its resources would beat 75 percent of its peers. To measure support, officials add together tuition and general fund revenues and divide that total by the number of students served. Of the 24 peer universities, Cornell is at the top of the list (state-supported departments at this Ivy League school are the only ones counted). At the bottom is the University of Cincinnati.
When alumni voted in March on their estimate of state support of the UW in comparison to its peers, only 25 percent got it right—the UW is currently in the 44th percentile. The state's goal is to put the UW in the 75th percentile compared to its 24 peer institutions, which are all public research universities. That would take a 29 percent increase in the amount the UW receives in general fund revenue and tuition.