PULLMAN, Wash. – The two-year operating budget agreement approved by the Washington State Legislature today make significant new investments in Washington State University’s pursuit of a medical school, academic expansion in underserved parts of the state and college affordability.
“This is a remarkable achievement, especially in such a challenging budget environment,” said WSU Acting President Dan Bernardo. “This new investment will allow the university to produce more graduates in high demand fields and at an unprecedented discount to students. It was worth the wait.”
The operating budget provides new state funding to allow a 5 percent tuition operating fees reduction this fall and an additional 10 percent tuition reduction operating fees for fall 2016. That means a resident undergraduate student on the Pullman campus who paid $10,336 in tuition operating fees per academic year in fall 2014 will pay $9,819 in fall 2015 and just $8,837 in fall 2016.
The decision marks the first time in recent memory that tuition will be reduced at WSU. University President Elson S. Floyd, who passed away June 20, was a leading advocate for college affordability when tuition was skyrocketing during the Great Recession.
“Elson would have been very pleased,” Bernardo said. “Affordable access to a higher education changed his life in North Carolina, and he wanted that for students in Washington, too.”
The operating budget fully funds WSU’s one-time $2.5 million request to begin the search for a dean and other initial personnel to support the medical school the Legislature authorized the university to pursue earlier this session.
“This is a major development that will significantly enhance our accreditation effort and, ultimately, help us produce more primary care doctors for underserved Washington,” said Ken Roberts, acting dean of WSU’s College of Medical Sciences. “We are very grateful.”
The operating budget includes funding to allow WSU to offer electrical engineering degrees at Olympic College in Bremerton where the university already has a thriving mechanical engineering program.
The budget also provides funding for WSU to expand its academic programming at the Everett University Center by adding new degrees in software engineering and data analytics.
“The Legislature has made a substantial commitment to WSU’s engagement in the most underserved part of our state,” said Bob Drewel, chancellor at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett. “These new offerings will make a difference for individuals and support the major industries and economic drivers in the region.”
Kathy Barnard, University Communications, 509-335-8055, email@example.com
Chris Mulick, WSU State Relations, 253-579-2461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583, email@example.com