Alumni Advocacy Days | Feb 16, 17, 18
Time to mobilize, Huskies! We’re emailing our lawmakers this week, and this legislative session is chock full of budgetary requests and bills that address the higher education priorities YOU identified in our October 2021 survey: access and affordability, maintaining the UW’s quality and excellence, and expansion of high-demand degree programs.
Here is the elevator speech version:
- We are supporting programs which help students get to college and pay for college
- We are supporting 3% raises to retain UW’s stellar faculty and staff
- We are supporting the expansion of slots in UW’s high-demand computer science program.
Now for the deep dive…
We support the following bills, which expand financial aid options for college students:
- House Bill (HB) 1659, which would expand the Washington College Grant (WCG) by adding $500-$1000 bridge grants for eligible student, for non-tuition expenses such as books, room and board, and childcare.
- This bill would also expand WCG eligibility requirements for various percentages of median incomes (0-70% of median family income would receive the full grant, 71-80% of median family income would receive 50% grant, 81-90% of median family income would receive 25%, and 91-100% of median family income would receive 10%).
- House Bill 1835, which provides outreach funding and pilot programs to get more high school students to apply for financial aid.
- In 2020, the State of Washington ranked 49th nationally in completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the application which determines eligibility for both national grants (such as the Pell Grant) and state grants (such as the Washington College Grant). 92% of high school seniors who completed the FAFSA enrolled in post-secondary education by the November following graduation, compared to 51% of students who did not complete the FAFSA. FAFSA completion means more post-secondary students in the pipeline and better future economic vitality for Washington.
- A similar bill, SB 5789 in the Senate, would establish grants for community-based organizations to provide outreach and support in helping a wide variety of underserved populations achieve post-secondary educational attainment.
- House Bill 1736, which establishes a state-based student loan program with a 1% interest rate, in which students are unable to borrow more than the cost of attendance. We appreciate that this is a sensible student loan program that offers a non-private-loan option for students who may not be eligible for grants or scholarships.
Quality and Excellence
- This year, the UW joins all 5 public universities, plus the technical and community colleges, in a compensation request. State agencies were not granted salary adjustments in last year’s budget cycle, despite the Legislature passing a $60B budget.
- At UW, this request will fund modest 3% raises and help us retain our stellar faculty and staff.
- Last year, the Legislature recognized that tuition revenue is not adequate to cover compensation and central services costs (tuition is capped by the Legislature). Thus, we’re looking for the state to cover at least half of these expenses at a cost of $18.45M, ongoing.
High Demand Degrees
- Last year, the Legislature granted UW some funding to add 100 slots in computer science, with special recruitment for underrepresented student populations. To expand to the expected 100 slots, the UW will need $2M per year, ongoing.
Ready? Speak up for current and future Huskies by clicking here and emailing your legislators. It takes just 30 seconds. Personalize it for more impact!