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With the economy struggling, parents and students dared to hope this year might offer a break from rising college costs. Instead, they got another sharp increase.
SEATTLE – Enrollment is up at Washington’s public universities this fall, with most of the increase coming from students who decided to stay in school rather than seek their fortunes elsewhere in a down economy. The University of Washington in Seattle, Western Washington University and Evergreen State College are reporting only slight increases in their student count. Washington State University, UW Bothell, Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University all report record enrollment increases.
Washington State University will cut 359 jobs and eliminate three academic programs to deal with severe budget cuts imposed by the state, school President Elson Floyd said Wednesday. The department of theater and dance and the department of community and rural sociology will be phased out, and the German major will be eliminated because of budget cuts of $54 million over the next two years that were imposed by the Legislature. But the sports management program, which had been slated for elimination, will be retained.
PORTLAND – Tuition and fees at Oregon’s seven public universities could rise by as much as 13 percent as the schools brace for state budget cuts. Oregon lawmakers are grappling with the numbers to pass a balanced budget by their June 30 adjournment. The state is facing a $3.8 billion gap between expected revenue over the next two years and the cost of continuing existing services.
Forget the Grand Tour of Europe. If your kid is in high school, your next family vacation – in fact, your next couple of family vacations – may well be the Grand Tour of Colleges. Instead of museums or cafes in London or Rome, you’ll be seeing quads, dorms and dining halls. Instead of converting dollars to euros, your brain will be grappling with GPAs, SATs, and oh, yes, the price of tuition.
OLYMPIA – Washington students could pay more for a college diploma under a bill approved by the state House on Wednesday. The measure, approved on a 50-47 vote, removes the current 7 percent cap in annual tuition increases for undergraduates who are state residents.
In pushing for large tuition increases over the next two years, Gov. Chris Gregoire invoked many of the arguments made over the years for a high tuition-high aid model for higher education. The idea is to keep tuition high but backfill with financial aid, so that a college education remains accessible for students from lower-income households. The Economic Opportunity Institute studied how that has played out at four universities, and the results are not encouraging. At the University of Michigan, enrollment has dropped among low-income and minority students. In one year, the University of Miami-Ohio experienced a 13 percent drop in in-state enrollment and a 10 percent drop in out-of-state enrollment. Student debt increased, because financial aid didn’t keep pace with tuition hikes. The average debt incurred nationally by graduating students is $19,400. At the University of Washington, it is $16,481. At high-tuition Michigan, it’s $25,586.
Concern about budget cuts at Washington State University has prompted a resurgence of a national faculty rights organization on campus. The American Association of University Professors, active in Pullman in the 1950s and 1970s, is recruiting members from among WSU faculty fearful of how the administration will respond to state spending cuts, according to applied statistics professor Rich Alldredge, president of the local chapter of the AAUP.
State university administrators are keeping budget plans close to their vests while Washington House and Senate negotiators decide whether impending higher education cuts will be bad news or very bad news. But students at Eastern Washington University weren’t about to let uncertainty stand in the way of a campus demonstration on Wednesday.
Jessica Hay has no illusions about where she would be were it not for the scholarships she receives while attending Eastern Washington University. “I would be working dead-end job after dead-end job while struggling toward a degree, maybe in 10 or 12 years,” Hay said.
Jessica Hay has no illusions about where she would be were it not for the scholarships she is receiving while attending Eastern Washington University.
News that would have sent panic through community colleges a year ago is instead being met with a bit of relief.
WASHINGTON – More than 40 higher-education leaders from across the country asked Congress today to commit 5 percent of any economic stimulus program to the nation’s colleges and universities. The educators, including University of Virginia President John Casteen III and Chancellor William E. Kirwan of the University System of Maryland, published an open letter in newspapers warning that state budget cuts have harmed the public educational enterprise that is at the heart of the nation’s long-term security.
PULLMAN – It was cloudy when Washington State University held its May commencement ceremony – the showers on the Palouse matching the chill in the national economy. That was nothing like the storm Saturday when about 1,400 graduates picked up their diplomas during midyear commencement at WSU and nearby University of Idaho. Posing for pictures in their caps and gowns with a backdrop of wet, blowing snow, some graduates wondered how they’re going to find work in the worst job market in decades.
The women of Steel House are losing their home. But they're doing everything they can to preserve the spirit and habits of the house on the University of Idaho campus – the nation's oldest on-campus women's cooperative dormitory. Since the UI announced two weeks ago that it was closing the house, the residents have demonstrated on campus, met with top UI officials and come up with a possible arrangement to lease another house.