SeattlePI.com Thursday reported on a letter from interim UW President Phyllis Wise to legislative leaders that discusses possible effects of proposed budget cuts on the UW. The letter indicates the assessment was prepared at the request of legislators. “Times are tough, but please know—without state funding and strategic solutions—everything is at risk,” Wise’s letter said.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
New degree proposals submitted by public institutions to the HECB for approval in recent months have increasingly included funding plans that rely on resources other than state appropriations.
One of the HECB’s important duties is to review and approve new degree programs at the state’s six public baccalaureate institutions to ensure they meet student needs and are appropriate investments of state resources.
Out of 11 master’s degree programs in the pipeline for HECB approval, all but one would be a self-sustaining program, according to an HECB staff report on program approvals recently presented to the HECB.
The proposals include such new programs as the University of Washington’s Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management, and Master of Sustainable Transportation. Both would be supported by student tuition fees and would receive no state funding.
As state funding for higher education has declined, institutions have come to rely more heavily on tuition revenue to cover operating costs. Resident undergraduate tuition rates are subject to legislatively imposed limitations, but public colleges and universities have unlimited tuition-setting authority for graduate programs.
Last year, the HECB approved 11 new degree programs and modifications to six existing programs. The new programs reflect efforts by institutions to create new degree opportunities in high demand fields. Two were in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, two were in heath fields, and one fit both categories.
The new programs are relatively small, serving a projected total of 557 full-time equivalent students at full enrollment, including 416 undergraduate and 141 graduate FTE students.
The modifications of existing programs primarily involved conversions of options to degrees or consolidation of multiple degrees into a single degree. Thirteen degree titles were added, and six were eliminated.
The HECB also approved seven proposals to extend existing programs to new locations or through distance delivery. Two of the extensions use distance delivery, one uses hybrid delivery, and five use centers and teaching sites at four different locations.
The full report on program approvals is available on the HECB website.
Posted by HECB Washington at 3:19 PM
Friday, February 18, 2011
KING TV posted an item on its education blog this week highlighting Governor Gregoire’s use of social media to advance her Department of Education proposal.
Posted by HECB Washington at 2:29 PM
Thursday, February 17, 2011
In 2010, more than 28 percent of Washington high school seniors took the Advanced Placement examination, more than double the percentage who took it in 2001, the first year the program was offered in Washington.
Posted by HECB Washington at 11:41 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
On Monday, The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University began a series of articles examining the impacts tuition hikes and budget cuts are having on students and the university. Here are links to the first two installments in that series:
Posted by HECB Washington at 2:31 PM
The Higher Education Coordinating Board will hold a special dinner meeting on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Mayflower Park Hotel, 405 Olive Way, Seattle. The Board will receive an update on the 2011 legislative session. No formal action will be taken at the meeting.
Posted by HECB Washington at 12:11 PM
Friday, February 11, 2011
OLYMPIA— The annual financial aid report, “Keeping College Affordable,” notes that although funding for the State Need Grant (SNG) program more than doubled--from $90 to $212 million between 2001-02 and 2009-10--most of that increase (71 percent) was used to offset rising tuition rates, not to expand the number of students being served.
Appropriations to the SNG program represent a major source of financial support for the 68 institutions that participate. Each year the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) prepares the report, which is used to provide background for legislative policy and budget decisions on financial aid in Washington.
The State Need Grant is by far the state’s largest financial aid program, serving 70,000 students annually and accounting for 95 percent of all state aid. Rachelle Sharpe, acting director of student financial aid, said only $36 million of the $122 million increase in SNG appropriations over the decade was used to add new students to the program.
Growth in total students served occurred for two reasons: more students at the lowest income levels applied for and received grants during the decade, accounting for $23 million (17 percent) of the increase; and the income eligibility limit for the grant was raised twice, accounting for $13 million of the increase. Income eligibility is now 70 percent of Median Family Income, or $54,500 a year for a family of four.
A surge in the number of students who qualify for the program and tuition increases of from 7 to 14 percent tuition in each of the last two years has caused a SNG supply/need gap. In the last two years about 22,000 who qualified for an award did not receive one. Just three years ago fewer than 2,000 annually who qualified did not receive a grant.
“These un-served students may have no choice but to borrow more money, work more hours, or increase the time it takes them to achieve their college goals,” said Sharpe.
Student demand for financial aid has been growing in Washington, in part because tuition increases at public colleges and universities have placed additional pressure on cash-strapped families looking for ways to cover the cost of postsecondary education.
The number of Washington students filling out the Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA) grew 57 percent in the last three years. This year, about 500,000 Washington students are expected to complete FAFSA applications. The FAFSA is required to establish aid eligibility.
The Governor’s proposed 2011-13 budget would increase SNG funding $91.8 million. This would allow the lowest-income students served by SNG to receive funding to keep up with tuition increases. However, additional funding would be needed to close the 22,000-student supply/need gap.
To increase degree and certificate production in Washington, the central goal of the state’s Strategic Master Plan, many more students will need to enroll in and complete postsecondary programs, and a large percentage of these students will need to come from those who qualify for or are at the margins of financial aid eligibility. Extending financial assistance to these students will be necessary to meet master plan goals, Sharpe said.
Other highlights from the report:
· In 2009-10, $2.2 billion in aid was distributed to needy Washington students from federal, state and other sources. Of this about 50 percent was in loans, 48 percent in grants, and 2 in percent work study.
· In 2009-10, 39,000 more students received $403 million more in all forms of financial aid than in the previous academic year.
· Aid for needy students increased 30 percent over the previous year.
· A greater percentage of needy students are attending community and technical colleges.
· Several state student aid programs—including State Work Study and several smaller programs—were reduced in size or suspended. The Governor’s proposed budget for the next biennium proposes additional reductions and suspensions.
“Keeping College Affordable” can be found on the HECB website at www.hecb.wa.gov/financialaid/index.asp
Posted by HECB Washington at 4:34 PM
More than 48,000 Washington college scholarship seekers and approximately 160 of the state’s scholarship providers have found a way to connect with each other through theWashboard.org since the online service launched about a year ago.
TheWashboard.org is a free, web-based scholarship matching clearinghouse for Washington students. In a single online location, theWashboard.org allows students to research scholarship opportunities specific to their particular academic interests or goals. Some scholarships also can be applied for through the website.
In the past, students often had difficulty finding appropriate scholarship information because there was no central clearinghouse for information. Common web search engines recommend an overwhelming number of possibilities, leading to student frustration and abandonment of the scholarship search.
Now is the prime scholarship-hunting season for students who plan to attend college next year. Many applications open in January and close in the spring. For the current season, approximately $20 million in awards are expected to be made available through theWashboard.org.
TheWashboard.org was created by the Washington Scholarship Coalition, a public/private partnership that includes the HECB, College Spark Washington, the Northwest Education Loan Association, and the Seattle Foundation.
A series of public service announcements promoting theWashboard.org were created by students in a drama and film class at Shoreline Community College. Links to the videos have been added to the Favorites list on the HECB YouTube site.
Posted by HECB Washington at 3:00 PM
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Frequently the HECB is asked why State Need Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The question implies that someone’s position in line is an insufficient criterion for receiving the SNG… that more evaluation is needed to ensure the neediest students are covered.
But meeting application deadlines is only one element that influences who gets a State Need Grant and how much that student receives. A number of additional important factors are in play at the institutional level. The following background information provides perspective.
More than 70,000 students will receive an award this academic year (2010-11), about the same number who received one in 2009-10. However, demand for the award has increased significantly over the last three years, which has resulted in far fewer students who qualify being served proportionally.
For example, in the 2007-08 academic year about 1,500 students who qualified for the SNG did not receive one. In 2010-11, it is estimated 22,000 students who qualify will not receive one.
To qualify for the grant a student must have an income no more than 70 percent of the state’s Median Family Income (MFI), ($54,500 for a family of four). Award amounts are further differentiated by the student’s place within this income range.
For example, students with incomes of 50 percent or less of MFI are eligible for a full SNG, equal to about 90 percent of tuition and fees at most public two- and four-year institutions. Those with incomes between 51 and 70 percent of MFI are eligible to receive a prorated amount.
It is also important to note that the HECB does not award the grants. Rather, it allocates the money for the grants to 68 participating institutions, which then use the funds – within SNG program guidelines – to provide financial aid packages to qualifying students they have approved for admission.
The size of SNG awards can vary among institutions depending on their tuition rates and other factors. For example, some campuses will prioritize SNG to previously awarded students, those close to graduation, or the lowest income-students. In addition, many campuses will offer institutional aid to students when SNG funds have been exhausted.
Institutions have a degree of latitude in determining how SNG funds are spent. Many award their funds only to students at the lowest income levels.
Yes, students who complete their applications early do have a better chance of receiving the SNG. But the application window for most schools is reasonably wide. It runs from January to April. And while not applying within this timeframe does reduce the chance a student might receive an award, it does not preclude a student from receiving one.
Each student who attends a college or university in Washington has a unique profile and unique needs. Distributing aid at the institutional level and allowing a wide degree of flexibility in making awards helps institutions customize aid packages to fit student needs and helps keep the overall process of awarding aid in the state running smoothly.
Posted by HECB Washington at 9:41 AM