The University of Washington Board of Regents today approved a 20 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition next year—4 percent more than the 16 percent increase assumed in the 2011-13 operating budget recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Seattle PI.com today called the increase the largest in the university’s history and said it would raise tuition for in-state students to $10,574 from the current $8,700. Most other categories of tuition for graduate and non-resident students also were increased.
The state’s other research university, WSU, recently increased tuition next year by 16 percent, the same amount assumed in the state budget. With the increase, WSU in-state undergraduates will pay $9,374 next year.
A major reason for the tuition increases is the state’s current fiscal crisis, which has led to significant reductions in state support to the UW and other public higher education institutions. A summary of the UW’s Fiscal Year 2012 operating and capital budget proposals says that the UW’s operating appropriation will be reduced by 35 percent for the coming biennium. That’s before taking into account new revenue generated from tuition increases.
Tuition revenue now constitutes 67 percent of the university’s general operating fund resources (state funds and tuition revenue), according to the UW.
This year, the Legislature and Governor gave public baccalaureate institutions authority to set their own tuition rates to help offset appropriation reductions and to maintain institutional programs and quality. The legislation, E2SHB 1795, also requires institutions to set aside additional funding for financial aid to low and middle income students if they raise tuition beyond levels assumed in the state budget, as is the case at the UW. According to the UW report, the institution will award $38.6 million in tuition revenue back to students in 2011-12, about 15.6 percent of total tuition revenue.
Under E2SHB 1795, four-year public institutions also are required to negotiate two-year performance plans that include expected outcomes on a number of measures, including baccalaureate degree production for resident students, and retention and success levels for students from low-income, diverse, or underrepresented groups.