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Universities react to Governor Inslee’s 2015-17 budget proposal

On December 18, Governor Inslee released his plans to fund education in the 2015-17 biennium. You can find information about the Governor’s full budget proposal online here.

This is what Washington’s public universities had to say about Governor Inslee’s plans for funding higher education:

This week’s budget proposal from Governor Inslee makes important investments in early childhood, K-12, and higher education. However, it falls short of providing sufficient funding to expand student access, fund a tuition freeze, and increase degree production in high demand fields to meet current demand and make progress towards the state’s higher education degree goals.

Washington’s public college and universities are united behind a request to increase state investment by $198 million over the next two years. This additional funding would increase degree production in high-demand areas, improve student access and performance through targeted, evidence-based initiatives, and hold the line on tuition increases for an additional two years.

During the most recent economic recession, higher education in Washington state experienced some of the largest decreases in state funding in the nation. During that time, class sizes, time to degree, student indebtedness, and tuition dramatically increased while nearly 2,000 faculty and staff positions supporting the academic mission were lost. In 2013, the Governor and state legislature rallied to reverse this trend. New state investments in higher education allowed for the first resident undergraduate tuition freeze since 1986. Even with this recent funding, Washington still ranks 49th nationally in per student funding, including both state support and tuition.

We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to advance this request during the legislative session.

To learn more about how Governor Inslee’s budgets would impact the University of Washington, view the Office of Planning & Budgeting brief here.

The legislature will return to Olympia for a 105-day session beginning January 12. The state budget process will shift into higher gear following the state’s March revenue forecast, which will give lawmakers the most timely sense of how revenue is shaping up for the 2015-17 budget period.