This week Washington’s four-year public institutions shared with legislators the impact of Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget on higher education and invited legislators to partner with the institutions in prioritizing higher education in policy and funding discussions.
On Tuesday the public baccalaureate institutions testified on Governor Gregoire’s proposed biennial budget for higher education.
Members of the House Appropriations Committee heard appreciation from the institutions for the acknowledgment Gregoire gave to the dramatic reductions in state funding the public four-year institutions have experienced since the begining of the recession. In particular, the shift in the cost of education from the state to Washington students and families.
Institutions also expressed that the proposal challenges Washington’s public universities and college because the proposed funding levels are insufficient to meet the basic operating needs of the institutions and does not respond to institutional requests for enhancements to sustain current performance and build capacity for access.
The public baccalaureate institutions asked legislators to partner with the institutions to support a biennial investment of $225 in state funding for the institutions. In return, the institutions would freeze resident undergraduate tution for the biennium as well as use the much needed investment to continue to sustain and build capacity for meeting critical state goals for higher education.
On Wednesday the public baccalaureates shared a similar message with the House Higher Education Committee. The Council of Presidents presented an overview of the impact of the last five years on Washington’s public four-year institutions followed by presentations from each of the universities and college.
The work session provided the opportunity for the institutions to share with legislators, many of which are new to the Legislature, about their institutions as well as highlight institutional policy priorities for the session.