How Did UW and Higher Ed Fare in Proposed Budgets?

The Washington State House and Senate released their proposed budgets late last week, both making solid investments in higher education even during an uncertain time. These investments signal their agreement with hundreds of UW Impact advocates who have made a compelling case for support since session began in January.

Key investments for the UW include:

  • Ensuring quality and excellence:
    • $20M per year (2021-23) for UW Medicine’s safety net care for Washington’s neediest residents. The House budget includes $35M in additional one-time COVID recovery support, while the Senate’s $20M investment reflects ongoing support beyond 2023.
  • Providing for high-demand degrees:
    • $45.4M for the interdisciplinary engineering building on the Seattle campus
    • $36M for UW Tacoma’s Milgard Hall, which will house the School of Engineering and Technology
    • $2.3M in annual funding for a state-of-the-art classroom and lab facility for the UW/Gonzaga medical school partnership in Spokane
  • Advancing access and affordability:
    • $6M over the biennium in the House budget for expansion of slots in Computer Science and Engineering, specifically for underrepresented students

The Legislature managed these investments without furloughing employees and without reductions to state financial aid – cost-saving maneuvers that you, our advocates, asked lawmakers to avoid when creating their budgets.

A final piece of good news: The Legislature eliminated last year’s multimillion dollar charge to the UW to finance the state’s Office of Financial Management’s new financial system – a charge that was to be taken out of UW’s tuition revenue. Our advocates sent nearly 500 emails and joined other state institutions in speaking out against this charge in 2020 – and legislators rectified it when they had the opportunity this year.

What’s Next?

Write lawmakers – thank them and ask them to preserve these investments in higher education through the budget negotiations over the next few weeks!

For a full analysis of the proposed operating and capital budgets, read the UW Office of Planning and Budgeting’s brief, here.