Key UW Items Funded in Proposed State Budgets

Promising news! The House and the Senate have released their budget proposals, and they have fully funded most of the items UW Impact advocates have championed all session.

Each year, UW Impact focuses on the alumni-identified priorities of access and affordability, high-demand degree programs, and educational quality and excellence. This year’s UW legislative agenda was light, but several significant items warranted our advocacy.

Helped in part by YOUR communications with elected officials, here is how our priorities have fared in the proposed budgets:

  • Regional Initiatives in Dentistry Education (RIDE) in Spokane: $2.5M (full funding, both chambers). This program trains rural dentists, and state funding doubles the cohort to meet demand and adds a second year in Spokane.
  • Allen Scholars/Startup Program in Computer Science and Engineering: $330K (full funding, both chambers). This program prepares underserved students – mostly first-generation and underrepresented students – for the rigors of UW’s CSE program.
  • Bagley Hall/Chem Sciences Modernization: $5M (full funding, both chambers): Chemistry is required for most STEM and health sciences students, and demand has skyrocketed since these facilities were built in 1937 and 1957. Funding will help modernize the facilities and help attract and retain faculty for this core discipline.
  • UW Medicine Support: $50M in House, $65M in Senate. UW Medicine is the primary provider of uncompensated medical and behavioral healthcare in the state, and provides critical education and training to medical personnel. This funding will help with the rising costs of labor and safety net care.

The UW (along with many community and technical colleges, plus Central and Eastern Washington Universities) encountered one unwelcome surprise: The College in the High School program was underfunded, possibly due to an incorrect formula for calculating costs. For the UW, this is a cut of about $630,000 and could mean pulling the program out of smaller high schools and zero funding for teacher training. UW Impact sent out an action alert on this topic on Monday, February 19 and lawmakers received nearly 350 emails in 24 hours. Thank you, advocates! This issue will hopefully be resolved in the final budget, due out by the beginning of March (session ends March 7).

What Comes Next?

  • The House and the Senate meet for the next two weeks to come up with a compromise budget. Should any issues arise as they hammer out a final budget, UW Impact will alert advocates as to when your voice will make a difference.
  • We anticipate a solution to the College in the High Schools funding issue and will look for it in the final budget.

Thank you for your advocacy, Huskies – here’s to a strong finish to the 2024 legislative session.