WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

"Take Five" for WSU and higher education, In the News

Time to thank your lawmakers for an extraordinary session

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2015 turned out to be a unique legislative session. This is due in part to its length and relative complexity, yet breathtaking in the positive changes it means for higher education and WSU. Taking 168 days and three special sessions, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed new operating, capital, and transportation budgets on Wednesday, June 30th. Though there are still some issues pending related to the K-12 class size initiative, the budget agreements are expected to hold over the next several weeks.

Below reflects the highlights of the session for WSU; we applaud and thank every one of our WSU Impact members who used our easy-to-navigate tools to reach out to your legislators this session – your voice and positive relationships with your lawmakers made a difference:

The 2015-2017 Operating Budget — 2015 was marked by a funding climate where all state agencies and interests were told to brace for new budget reductions due to funding K-12 education as specified by the state Supreme Court’s McClearly decision. However, WSU continued to set high expectations and due to modest economic growth and a small tax package, the Legislature managed to deliver a budget that has changed the course of higher education funding and assisted WSU’s in receiving almost the entirety of its legislative priorities. The Operating budget does the following:

  • Fully funds a two-step tuition reduction, cutting tuition for resident undergraduates by five percent this fall and by another 10 percent in the fall of 2016. The results? A student in the fall of 2016 will pay almost $1,500 less in annual tuition than they did in the 2014-15 academic year. And, the legislature “backfilled” the tuition savings by reinvesting these “lost” dollars so there is no reduction in education delivery or quality.
  • Provides $2.5 million in one-time funding to help WSU pursue the medical school in Spokane.
  • Provides $1.6 million with an additional $1 million ongoing to establish and electrical engineering program at Olympic College and $2.4 million to establish software engineering and data analytics programs at the Everett University Center, partially funding our request for WSU North Puget Sound at Everett.

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The 2015-2017 Capital Budget – The total capital budget funding for WSU was rather extraordinary this year given the increased competition for dollars since the onset of the Great Recession.

WSU received funding for two construction projects and hence, received more state funding than any other four-year institution.

Though both the construction projects were funded at a bit below the requested level, WSU reports they will be able to adequately address the shortfalls. Importantly, the budget will allow WSU to build a new academic building at the Everett University Center, renovate Troy Hall in Pullman, design a Plant Sciences Building in Pullman, and pre-design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities.

2015-2017 Policy Bills – lawmakers approved:

  • The medical school bill authorizing WSU to seek accreditation for a new medical school in service to the citizens of Washington.
  • Legislation WSU requested authorizing minors to taste, but not consume alcohol, something WSU has been seeking rimarily for our enology and viticulture programs.
  • WSU supported legislation to establish a research collaborative which, WSU will lead, focusing on rare earth materials, along with $2 million in the capital budget for equipment.
  • A pair of campus sexual violence bills that will advance safety.
  • A compromise version of a cancer research measure that the late President Elson S. Floyd personally engaged in.

2014 Fall CommencementClearly, this session has been particularly bittersweet for all of WSU and WSU Impact. We owe so much to our late President Elson S. Floyd who worked in a tireless fashion while battling cancer. His steadfast commitment to working collaboratively with lawmakers in Olympia was extraordinary. His legacy helped define the last week of the legislative activities and WSU Impact believes his passion lives on in the results of a truly historic session – higher education and WSU in our state are definitely in better places today than both were a year ago. College is more affordable, more accessible, more expansive, and continues with high quality.

Please thank your legislators by logging into your personal homepage. If you are a member, please log in by clicking members enter here. If new, please click Register Here and thank your legislator – easy and highly effective.

 

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