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Thursday, December 5, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WSU regents approve 2.4% tuition hikes, athletic budget, purchase of Monsanto property near Othello

UPDATED: Wed., June 12, 2019

Washington State University’s main campus in Pullman is seen in August 2011. The university says it has enrolled an all-time record number of students for fall 2019 across its five campuses and online degree programs. (Alan Berner / AP)
Washington State University’s main campus in Pullman is seen in August 2011. The university says it has enrolled an all-time record number of students for fall 2019 across its five campuses and online degree programs. (Alan Berner / AP)

Washington State University’s board of regents approved 2.4% tuition increases for most students on Friday.

The hikes mean undergraduates from Washington will pay $9,953 in tuition for the 2019-20 academic year, while out-of-state undergrads will pay $24,531.

Resident graduate students will pay $11,493 per year, and out-of-state graduate students will pay $25,248. Those figures don’t include mandatory fees and other expenses.

According to a news release from WSU, the increases are the first in seven years for graduate and nonresident students. They’re expected to generate about $5 million in additional revenue.

“The money will help WSU cover increased costs of health insurance and cost-of-living increases for faculty, including graduate students, and staff,” the news release said.

Legislation passed in 2015 curbed tuition increases for resident undergraduates at public colleges by linking rates to Washington’s median hourly wage. Based on the past 14 years of wage growth, WSU was allowed to raise that rate by up to 2.4%.

The regents also approved 3% tuition increases for medical students and those pursuing doctorates in veterinary medicine. For those pursuing master’s degrees in athletic training, rates were increased by 7% for out-of-state students and 16% for Washington residents.

Rates for students pursuing master’s degrees in nursing and doctorates in pharmacy were not increased.

The regents convened Friday at WSU’s Tri-Cities campus. Their meeting documents say the tuition proposal was presented to student government leaders last month.

The towering cost of college education remains a focus in Olympia, where lawmakers recently passed a major expansion of the State Need Grant, effectively making college free for Washington’s poorest students.

Also Friday, the regents approved the planned $2.5 million purchase of a 50-acre facility near Othello that will serve as the new home of WSU’s honey bee and pollinator research and education programs.

The property is currently owned by agrochemical giant Monsanto, which used it for research and growing corn, according to WSU. Monsanto decided to sell the facility after the company was acquired by Bayer last year.

The university said more than $1.8 million of the purchase will be covered by donations.

The regents also approved an operating budget for WSU’s athletics department, which is expected to be $103 million in debt by 2022. That’s $17 million more in debt than the university projected last year.

The university’s plan to address the debt relies largely on fundraising efforts and a 27% increase in department revenue by 2023.

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