The Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) released their preliminary 2009-11 operating budget recommendations today at their monthly meeting held on the UW Seattle campus.
Given the deteriorating budget outlook for 2009-11 which is resulting from significant declines in projected general fund revenues, Board staff have recommended a very modest level of new investments in higher education next biennium.
For example, the Board is not recommending any new funding for compensation increases – the largest single component of all higher education institutional budget requests. In addition, Board staff are not recommending funding for any “general” enrollment increases, although they did recommend funding for some high demand enrollments and a community college system on-line learning initiative.
For the UW, the HECB operating budget recommendations are as follows:
Maintenance level budget adjustments $76.9 million
High demand enrollments $14.2 million
College of the Environment $6.0 million
Biomedical Research $4.5 million
TOTAL 2009-11 Increase $101.6 million
By the standards of the 2007-09 biennium, these are austere recommendations, particularly the lack of funding for cost of living adjustments for faculty and staff, enrollment increases for the Tacoma and Bothell campuses or funding for many worthy University initiatives. However, given the worsening state revenue picture (the next forecast is November 19 and is likely to decline again), these budget recommendations could potentially be a high water mark.