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In the News, The state of higher education in Washington State

Legislature adjourns banner session for Washington State University

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Last Friday, July 10th, the State Legislature adjourned sine die, closing out a legislative session for the history books at Washington State University after reaching final agreement on operating and capital budgets for the next two years. Read more from the WSU Government Relations Newsbeat blog:

Washington State Government Relations – Newsbeat

The State Legislature adjourned Friday, closing out a legislative session for the history books at WSU after reaching final agreement on operating and capital budgets for the next two years.

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The late President Elson S. Floyd shakes the hand of Governor Jay Inslee while lawmakers look on at the signing of the bill expanding medical education access in our state.

Operating budget appropriations fully fund a historic phased in tuition reduction of 15 percent for in-state undergraduate students at WSU by fall 2016. The budget also provides funding to support the development of a new community based medical school at WSU’s health sciences campus in Spokane, and funds new software engineering and data analytics programs at the Everett University Center. You can read more about the operating budget here.

The enacted capital budget funds WSU’s top priorities to build an Academic Building at the Everett University Center and to design the Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus. It also provides funding to renovate historic Troy Hall in Pullman and predesign funding for a new Academic Building at WSU Tri-Cities. Learn more about the capital budget here.

Receiving an uncommonly high number of bipartisan sponsors in both the House and the Senate for legislation to amend a nearly 100-year-old law that limited medical education to the University of Washington, the Legislature approved legislation authorizing WSU to establish, operate and maintain a separately accredited school of medicine. It was a truly historic event that the university and the state of Washington celebrated.

Other policy measures approved this session include legislation authorizing minors to taste but not consume alcohol for educational purposes, primarily in viticulture and enology programs. Also approved was legislation to establish a research collaborative that WSU will lead around rare earth materials, and legislation to study and implement best practices to address sexual assault and violence on college campuses.

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WSU Chancellors of WSU Spokane Health Sciences Campus, WSU TriCities, and WSU Vancouver flank Governor Jay Inslee and UW Chancellors of UW-Bothell and UW-Tacoma in celebrating 25 years of advancing college access through urban campuses.

By any measure, this was an extraordinary session – and year – for the university that celebrated its 125th birthday as well as the 25th anniversary of its branch campuses. After three special sessions, lawmakers passed budgets that demonstrate strong support for WSU and higher education, continuing what late President Dr. Elson Floyd proclaimed to be one of the best years in the history of the university.

Lawmakers and Gov. Inslee honored and recognized President Floyd’s leadership this session and throughout his lifetime, a legacy that the university will carry forward as it implements the outcomes of this banner year for WSU.

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