The budget presented today by the state Senate is deeply disturbing. Cuts of this magnitude would seriously damage the UWâ€™s ability to serve the state. The Senateâ€™s budget would reduce the number of students admitted to the university at a time when we have the largest demand in history. The budget cuts would also force students to take longer to graduate because many fewer courses would be available for them. They would also mean a large number of layoffs and job eliminations, probably impacting more than 1,000 UW staff.
It is particularly disappointing that the Senate budget does not include greater increases in tuition to help offset some of the cuts. Higher tuition levels would allow the UW and the rest of higher education to avoid cutting admissions and courses. Federal increases in Pell grants and tuition tax credits make higher tuition affordable for many students and families. By not allowing more flexibility on tuition the Senate proposal blocks the UW, and the rest of higher education, from helping students and the State. When combined with these very deep budget cuts, the result is a huge step backward for Washington.
In the coming weeks as the legislature debates the budget, we will be working hard to reduce the level of the budget cuts and convince legislators that higher tuition is affordable and essential. This is a task that will demand all of our collective efforts.