UW Impact Legislative Priorities | 2018 Legislative Session

UW Impact engages UW alumni and stakeholders in legislative advocacy that advances the University and public higher education in the state of Washington. UW Impact’s 2018 legislative priorities align with the higher education priorities identified by UW alumni in recent polling* and with the University of Washington’s 2018 legislative agenda.

  1. Academic Excellence: UW’s faculty and staff compensation is not at par with UW’s national peers, and retention of world-class faculty is at risk. To aid in bringing UW up to par, UW Impact asks lawmakers to adjust state funding to cover 50% of expenses for employee compensation and central services. Currently, the state covers just 34% of these expenses, which is a lower proportion than at any other public university in the state (the split with other universities is 50/50). UW seeks an equitable funding model, as raising tuition to cover these expenses would negatively impact affordability and is not viable due to the cap on resident undergraduate tuition, limited space to increase enrollment, and various market forces.
  2. Affordability: UW joins Washington’s public and private universities, plus community and technical colleges, in seeking full investment in the State Need Grant (SNG). In 2016, nearly 24,000 students in Washington qualified for the SNG, but were left unserved due to budget shortfalls. The Legislature made a modest investment in the SNG during the 2017-19 budget session, decreasing the number of unserved students by approximately 875 annually. In 2018, UW Impact will be reminding legislators of the staggering number of remaining students with financial need and asking for full funding of the state need grant in the 2019-21 biennium.
  3. Access to high-demand fields: The state’s 2017-19 capital budget, which contains strategic funding for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees for UW, did not pass in the 2017 budget session. UW Impact asks lawmakers to support UW’s 2017-19 capital budget requests, which included pre-design funding for a new teaching building for the College of Engineering, funding for a new STEM building at UW Bothell, and design and construction of new Population Health and Health Sciences learning facilities. UW Impact advocates urge immediate passage of the biennial capital budget to prepare to serve more students in these high-demand fields.

*Priorities reflect combined results of independent, statewide survey of UWAA members and former members conducted in late 2015 and additional online polling in 2016.

And a helpful reminder when talking with legislators this session…


 If you have 1 minute (classic elevator speech):

  • Note your affiliation (UWAA Board of Trustees, Legislative Advocacy Committee, UW unit/department/college graduate, etc.) so your legislator identifies you with your cause.
  • Tell him/her that you care deeply about the UW and higher education in the state of Washington, and will be paying close attention to higher education issues during the legislative session.
  • Choose one of the priorities above to cite as your top priority: “In particular, I care about affordability and want to see more funding for the State Need Grant.”
  • Thank him/her for supporting higher education during the session.


If you have 5 minutes (at an event, if he/she is late to your meeting, etc.):

  • Do the above and:
  • Tell your personal UW story, and/or have an anecdote or data ready to support your top priority.
  • Tell the legislator that you will follow up with these details in an email (leave your contact info).
  • Ask him/her if he/she sees any barriers to supporting higher education.
  • Thank him/her for supporting higher education during the session.


If you have 15 minutes (the length of a typical Olympia or office meeting):

  • Do the above and:
  • Cite UW Impact’s top three priorities.
  • Ask the legislator what his/her top priorities will be for the session, and where higher education is on the list of priorities.
  • Ask what information you can provide to be sure higher education stays relevant and top of mind.
  • Thank him/her for supporting higher education during the legislative session.


Thank you to our alumni and friends across the state that will help us advocate for affordability, access, and excellence on behalf of the UW & Higher Education across Washington state. Ensuring opportunities for students to reach their educational pursuits would not be possible without your efforts. Please feel free to reach out to the UW Impact team with any questions this legislative session.