At a press conference in Spokane this morning (which was attended by President Mark Emmert and other UW officials), Governor Christine Gregoire unveiled some significant portions of her higher education budget recommendations for the 2007-09 biennium. The full budget proposal will be released on Tuesday December 19.
Speaking at the Washington State University – Spokane campus at Riverpoint, the Governor indicated she would include funding in her operating and capital budget proposals for the UW/WSU/EWU partnership to expand medical and dental education in Spokane and Eastern Washington. Known as “Spokane WWAMI/RIDE,” the program will add 20 new medical students and 8 new dental students to the UW through a dedicated site in Spokane.
The WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program has been a great success in training doctors to serve in rural communities. The RIDE (Regional Initiatives in Dental Education) is based on that model and will train dentists to help address the need for more qualified dentists in rural areas of the state.
The press release issued by the Governor’s office also described other aspects of the Governor’s higher education budget which will include:
- Freezing tuition at community and technical colleges for the next two years and capping undergraduate tuition at 5% for the regional schools and 7% for the UW and WSU.
- Providing new “high demand” enrollment slots and regional opportunity grants for job training.
- Expanding the WSU Spokane Intercollegiate College of Nursing.