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Eye On Olympia

Eastern Washington University: how would it handle deep budget cuts?

A day after Washington State University started to reveal its plans for handling proposed deep budget cuts, it’s time for another local school to do the same.

Late this afternoon in the Senate’s higher education committee, Eastern Washington University will detail how it would be affected.

In December, Gov. Chris Gregoire called for deep cuts to higher education spending as part of a broad plan to deal with a budget shortfall then estimated at $5.7 billion over the next two years. The Senate, worried about continuing erosion in state revenues, has asked the universities to model what it would look like to take cuts that are 50 percent larger than what Gregoire called for.

Yesterday, officials from both WSU and UW laid out their general plans under such cuts. Both are clearly expecting to raise tuition at least 7 percent over each of the next two years. Both predicted a drop in the number of expected student enrollments. And both said that while they would try to shield instructional programs from the brunt of the cuts, support services and administration would be cut deeply, and instructional fallout would be inevitable. UW President Mark Emmert suggested that it might take students 1-2 more quarters to get the courses they need to graduate.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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