State Relations

April 25, 2021

Session news: Final budgets passed by legislature include investments in the UW

The 2021 legislative session adjourned tonight after the legislature passed the final 2021-23 operating, capital, and transportation budgets. Despite the unprecedented fiscal and logistical challenges resulting from the pandemic, session ended on time and without the substantial budget cuts anticipated at the outset. The higher education sector saw strong, targeted investments in both the operating and capital budgets.

For the University of Washington, the final compromise budgets do not deviate much from the House and Senate budget proposals released at the end of March. The University’s base budget is maintained without requiring faculty and staff to take mandated furlough days. The operating budget also carries forward funding originally intended to partially fund salary increases in fiscal year 2021 for UW faculty and staff paid by state dollars and tuition revenue.

Major investments for the UW in the operating budgets include:

  • $40M over the biennium in one-time funding and $8 million over the biennium in ongoing funding for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center to support their role as the leading health care provider to Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured patients across the state and to support their teaching mission;
  • $35M in one-time funding in fiscal year 2021 for UW Medical Center from federal relief funds to address lost revenue resulting from the pandemic and given their central role in COVID-19 response efforts;
  • $2M biennially for the UW School of Dentistry in ongoing support to sustain their role as the leading oral health care provider to individuals covered by Medicaid and for uninsured patients and to support their training mission;
  • $2.29M annually, beginning fiscal year 2023, for the UW School of Medicine program in Spokane for rent and operations of a new, state-of-the-art teaching facility critical for continued accreditation;
  • $1.44M annually in maintenance and operations, beginning in fiscal year 2023, for the Health Sciences Education Building in Seattle,which will allow for interdisciplinary team-based learning for the UW’s six health science schools;
  • $2.44M over the biennium to continue planned funding ramp-ups for two psychiatry workforce investments, including two child and adolescent psychiatry fellowships and four psychiatry residencies;
  • $4M over the biennium for the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Sciences from Workforce Education Investment Account funds to add an additional 100 degrees per year focused on traditionally underrepresented students; and
  • A revised One Washington central services funding formula for the University, which significantly reduces assumed payments from the University to fund the state’s new financial system.

The operating budget also included funding for more than 30 provisos and legislation that passed this session.

Major investments in the capital budget for the University include:

  • $45.4M for the College of Engineering in Seattle to construct a new interdisciplinary teaching and research facility;
  • $36M for UW Tacoma to construct a new business and engineering building using cross-laminated timber;
  • $5M for the Magnuson Health Sciences Center to design phase 2 of the renovation and replacement; and
  • $200.75M to build a new state-of-the-art Behavioral Health Teaching Facility on the campus of UW Medical Center-Northwest.

The final capital budget did not include design funding to plan renovation needs for Anderson Hall in Seattle. Due to high demand for capital dollars, almost every higher education institution had at least one capital budget project that went unfunded.

As a whole, the compromise budgets include solid investments for the University, especially given the significant challenges the state, nation, and world has faced in the past year. The State Relations team sincerely thanks the legislature for the bipartisan collaboration that went into the final compromise budgets and the continued support of the UW.

For a detailed review of the budgets, the UW Office of Planning & Budgeting will post a comprehensive brief on the OPB Briefs page in the coming days.

The Office of State Relations will hold a legislative session recap on Apr. 30 from 1–1:45 p.m. State Relations Director Joe Dacca will share highlights from session, review the compromise budgets, and answer questions. To register for the meeting, click here (UW NetID is required). Due to the expected number of attendees, questions are encouraged to be submitted in advance to so Joe can address them in his remarks.