State Relations

October 28, 2020

The UW’s state budget requests and legislative engagement

The UW 2021-23 legislative agenda

Every year, the University of Washington submits decision packages to the state outlining budget requests for the upcoming legislative session. Recognizing the challenges facing the state due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s decision package prioritizes preserving current state funding levels for the UW to avoid significant harm to student financial aid, staff positions and salaries, and the essential academic and administrative units that serve our students, build our state’s workforce, and generate billions of dollars in annual research and economic activity for the state.

The University will also focus on securing critical support for UW Medicine given their central role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing delivery of over $700 million in annual uncompensated care for our state’s most vulnerable patients.

The unprecedented events of 2020 shine a spotlight on the essential role of the UW and UW Medicine in our state. However, the historic investments made in public higher education and UW Medicine during the 2019-20 biennium are at risk due to the impact of COVID-19 on state revenue collections. The UW’s legislative agenda reflects this reality. It is minimal and focuses on what the UW and UW Medicine need most to continue to operate and serve our students, patients, and the state.

The UW – along with all state agencies – was also asked by the state to model the impacts of a 15 percent reduction to our budget, which is reflected in the decision packages. The UW asks the state to avoid the deep and devastating budget cuts that happened during the Great Recession.

To learn more about the UW’s 2021 state legislative agenda, click here.


Legislative engagement: capital budget briefing

Given the unprecedented year, the Office of State Relations took the opportunity to connect with capital budget leaders and staff to discuss and answer questions about the UW’s upcoming capital budget projects and requests. Led by UW Facilities, the presentation provided information about the University’s capital budget process and priorities for the 2021 legislative session across its three campuses. An additional briefing was hosted by the UW Medicine’s Office of Government Relations for the new Behavioral Health Teaching Hospital.

During difficult economic times, state capital projects are often viewed as an economic driver. With this in mind, the UW’s 2021 capital budget requests have not been reduced and will prioritize the following projects:

  • $45.4M to construct a new interdisciplinary teaching and research facility for the College of Engineering in Seattle;
  • $36M to construct a new business and engineering building at UW Tacoma;
  • $5M in design funding for phase 2 of the Magnuson Health Sciences Center renovation and replacement;
  • $3M in design funding to plan renovation needs for Anderson Hall in Seattle, and;
  • $191.75M to build a new state-of-the-art Behavioral Health Teaching Facility.

Read more on the UW’s capital budget requests here.


Legislative engagement: Huskies from Home webinar series

Legislators and staff have participated in a series of virtual events hosted by the UW Office of External Affairs showcasing how the University and our students, faculty, and staff are adapting to the ongoing pandemic. As we began an unprecedented fall quarter at the UW, the Office of External Affairs invited elected officials and staff to learn more about the current Husky experience.

During the first webinar, UW leaders highlighted the UW’s COVID-19 response efforts and decision making process. They shared the challenges our students are facing and the ways the University is working to help ensure students continue to have access to the services and support they need.

The second event provided an overview of the UW’s fall quarter enrollment numbers and trends, which have been frequently requested by legislators and staff. The UW Office of Admissions also provided information about the University’s holistic admissions process, including recent changes to admission requirements.

The third webinar focused on the significant impact the pandemic has had on the UW’s research enterprise. Presentations provided insight into how the pandemic has shaped the broad portfolio of research occurring at the University.

Thank you to the elected officials and staff who participated!


UW student engagement hub opens Oct. 31

Passed during the 2020 legislative session, Senate Bill 6313 requires all Washington state public higher education institutions to host a nonpartisan student engagement hub to increase opportunities for young voters. The hub is operated by the King County Auditor’s Office and allows voters to register in person, print their ballots and voter registration materials, and return their ballot.

The UW’s student engagement hub at Dempsey Indoor Facility will be open to students and the public starting on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Dempsey Indoor Facility is located on Walla Walla Road, Seattle, WA 98105. Hub hours of operation include:

Saturday, Oct. 31           10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 2              8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Election Day, Nov. 3       8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For directions and parking information, click here.