State Lawmakers Invest in UW | 2021-23 Final Budget

The Washington State legislature released their final two-year state operating budget after an exceptional remote legislative session, and the news is good for higher education.

In the fall, the Governor asked all state agencies to model 5, 10, and 15% cuts, readying UW and other institutions for a worst-case scenario. Despite our initial concerns about how the pandemic would affect funding for higher education, the state revenue forecast rebounded and the Legislature saw our value. to fiscal recovery funds for UW’s incredible COVID response. Our lawmakers affirmed investment in post-secondary education even during uncertain times.

As for UW Impact priorities: The UW Seattle and Tacoma campuses received full funding for their capital requests for high-demand degrees. This includes $45.4M for a new College of Engineering interdisciplinary building, $36M for the business and engineering building at UW Tacoma, and $5M for the Magnuson Health Sciences building.

Other key investments in high-demand degrees, continued excellence, and student access:

  • Over the next two years, UW Medicine will receive $83M in funding to address the funding gap from COVID and continued uncompensated care
  • The budget sets aside the full $2.3M per year requested to help build a new classroom and lab space for the UW/Gonzaga medical partnership
  • $2M per year (biennium) will be provided to expand slots in Computer Science & Engineering for underrepresented students

The budget also provides $200M for a new behavioral health teaching and research facility (including funds for residencies and fellowships), and $1M in ongoing funding for UW Dentistry, which will help them continue to provide low-cost and uncompensated care.

As our advocates requested, each of these investments were made without instituting employee furloughs or undermining the Washington Education Investment Fund.

Finally: UW Impact advocates will be pleased to hear the result of an issue we spoke out about last year: The Office of Financial Management will NOT charge state agencies to pay for its new financial system – which would have cost the UW $3-5M in tuition revenue.

Our advocates share in this session’s successes. Huskies sent hundreds of emails to their lawmakers in support of funding for higher education, met with dozens of lawmakers, and advocated across the state. UW Impact is grateful to each of you for this favorable outcome which seemed impossible just a few months ago.

A final thanks is due to our lawmakers for their thoughtful support. A little gratitude goes a long way toward building positive relationships for future requests. Please take a moment to thank your legislators by clicking the button below.