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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University budget cuts….

On the heels of a very similar post I wrote yesterday re: Washington State University’s budget cuts, here’s a closer look at the legislature’s proposals for Eastern Washington University.

The short form: It’s not as bad as it sounds.

“We are looking at an 18.5 to 22 percent reduction in funding,” EWU President Rodolfo Arévalo told the Spokesman-Review’s Kevin Graman yesterday.

Arevalo’s right, in terms of the state’s proposed contribution to the university’s budget. But fortunately for Eastern staffers and students, that’s not the whole picture.

Eastern’s current two-year budget is about $239 million. The state estimates that keeping the same programs, payroll, services etc. for the next two years would cost about $249 million. Salaries tend to rise, as do health care costs. Stuff costs more.

Eastern gets about half its money from the state treasury. And it’s true that lawmakers want to dramatically shrink their contribution to colleges during the current budget crisis. If this was a normal year, the state would pay $124 million to maintain current programs at Eastern. Instead, the Senate is proposing shaving $28 million from that.

Yikes.

And lawmakers are also assuming some pretty dramatic savings at Eastern: an 11 percent cut in administration, a 12 percent cut in non-instructional costs like libraries, groundskeeping, etc. (Those two cuts total about $10 million.)

But here’s some better news, at least for staffers: state budget writers say that a 7 percent tuition increase over the next two years would add nearly $9 million more to the college’s budget. For students, this works out to $306 a year more.

A little more good news: the federal government is expected to send Eastern another nearly $6 million in stimulus dollars.

Net result: Even after the Senate’s 18.5 percent cut in state support, Eastern’s total budget would be $235 million, instead of the $249 million maintenance-level budget.

To look at it another way, the budget for the next two years would be $4 million — or 1.6 percent — less than the last budget was.

As for students: yeah, 7 percent to 10 percent is a pretty big tuition hike. Some college officials argue that the boost would be offset by increases — particularly at the federal level — in financial aid, as well as federal tax breaks. Here’s a chart compiled by the University of Washington’s budget folks which maintains that for students from families with an income of $160,000 or less wouldn’t pay anything more even under a 14 percent tuition hike at UW (which means $875 more a year).

If you want to run the Eastern budget numbers yourself, here’s the Senate plan (see page 179). And here’s the House version (see page 186), which takes a deeper bite but would boost tuition 10 percent to offset it, with a virtually identical net result.

 

Eastern Washington University’s turn: what deep budget cuts would mean…

From tomorrow’s print paper:

OLYMPIA _ When he took over as acting president of Eastern Washington University, John Mason was given a sign for his office.

“Thou shalt not whine,” it reads.

On Wednesday, Mason mostly stuck to that commandment, even as he described how proposed state budget cuts would affect the school and its students.

“I’ve been telling everyone at Eastern Washington University that there is no part of the university that will not be impacted,” he said.

Under the budget proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in December, Eastern estimates that its state funding would drop about $17 million, which is about 14 percent.

Since state revenues have continued to fall below expectations, the Senate has also asked the school to show what it would do in the face of a $25 million – or 20 percent – budget cut.

Trying to write a budget that copes with a budget shortfall of at least $6 billion, lawmakers this week held hearings to find out how officials at each state college would handle deep cuts. No final budget decisions are likely, however, until at least April.

“None of us love the cards we’ve been dealt,” said Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “We have control over how we play them.”

Under either budget scenario, Mason said, “we will see a reduction in jobs. There is no way that will not happen.”

How many? A minimum of 150 to 225, he said. And those figures assume a 7 percent tuition hike this year and next.

Mason said Eastern would try to protect teaching and learning, but that fallout is inevitable. The

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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