Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
The news today about the worsening condition of the state’s budget is sobering. It reminds us that the worst is not over and that the immediate future — the current fiscal year and the 2011-13 biennium — will bring further reductions in our state funding. State tax revenue collections continue to decline. This means the state budget for this year will not balance, necessitating the Governor’s action to order further across-the-board reductions in state budgets, including ours. And the decreased revenue projection for the 2011-13 biennium means that the state will face an even larger budget deficit of approximately $4.0 billion, resulting in more reductions next biennium.
The University’s Office of Planning and Budgeting is working to translate this latest budget cut into target reductions for the various schools and colleges and administrative units. We will be providing those targets to the units next week. As we have done with cuts over the past two years, we will do all we can to preserve the University’s core instructional activities and reduce wherever possible administrative costs, but at this point it is impossible for the effects of further reductions not to be felt throughout the University. Over the next two years, as we seek to increase revenue from other sources, we will also be looking for additional ways to decrease costs and increase efficiencies while preserving excellence. This work will not be easy, but it must be done if we are to emerge from this difficult period as a stronger institution.
These are unprecedented times for universities that rely on state support. In many respects, the UW is doing exceptionally well: our students are as good as they have ever been and our faculty remains strong and committed to advancing knowledge and learning. They remain the most competitive faculty in our nation’s public universities in competing for federal research funding, as evidenced by their recent remarkable success in winning American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. Donors continue to give and invest in the University at near-record levels, and the University continues to be rated highly in numerous rankings and surveys of colleges and universities. Our Achilles heel is our declining state support caused by the state’s economic condition. Despite its decline, state funding remains a primary contributor to our academic mission, enabling us to provide quality education for Washington citizens. We will continue to make the case as persuasively as we can in Olympia and elsewhere of the critical importance of maintaining state support for the UW.
We regret bringing you this bad news as the new academic year gets under way. We will continue to keep you informed about our budget situation as events in the state unfold.
Provost and Executive Vice President