WWU, Other Universities Want to Cut Deal With Lawmakers

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Washington's public university presidents are offering to compromise with the state Legislature over money for higher education. The six presidents say they will agree to freeze tuition for the next two years if the state infuses $225 million into their budgets.

The proposal comes two weeks after outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire's set a goal of no tuition increases in her proposed state budget. Her proposal included no additional money for the six public four-year schools.

That budget was "full of assumptions that are not likely to happen," state Rep. Ross Hunter, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, told The Seattle Times.

"Do I think it will be difficult to find $225 million? Yes," Hunter said. "But can we continue to do this long-term destruction of the higher-ed system? No."

The state is already predicting a $900 million shortfall for the next biennium, and a Supreme Court ruling concerning money for the state's K-12 education system will force the Legislature to find an estimated $1 billion to invest in public schools during this session.

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