Town Hall on Budget Cuts and Financial Aid
We had a panel discussion last Tuesday with President Mark Emmert, VP of OMA/D Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, VP of External Affairs Randy Hodgins, Office of Financial Aid Director Kay Lewis, and ASUW’s OGR Director Jono Hanks. Following are a few notes from the event. Last year we received about a 26% cut in state funding to the UW. Nationally, our state received the second highest cuts to higher education institutions For years there has been increasing disinvestment in higher education, currently private funds and tuition fund our University more than the state. The University received $1.4 billion in research grants last year and it is mostly from the federal government, or private donors. This money has strict rules attached to it and can only be used for the research it is granted to. President Emmert started the Husky Promise program a few years ago to ensure students from lower income families would be able to attend the University of Washington. Currently 25 percent of our student body is part of the program, which funds the tuition of students through a combination of scholarships, grants, federal and state aid. Our administration is unsure of the future of the Husky Promise program it depends on how much financial aid is being cut.
In the Governor’s proposed budget 8 out of 9 financial aid programs may be cut. Our University is facing anywhere between a 20-30 million dollar cut to its operating budget. President Emmert outlined four things he is speaking to Legislators about:  Stop budget cuts, our University cannot remain the world class institution it is with more cuts,  Stop cuts to need based financial aid, with current cuts there are thousands of students that will be unable to attend the University of Washington,  Flexibility in tuition setting authority, the University wants to transfer tuition setting authority of instate undergraduates from the Legislature to the Board of Regents,  Provide predictability in tuition, predictability is an annual tuition cap. A tuition cap is a maximum that our tuition can rise in any given year. In 2007 the state legislature set an annual tuition cap at 7%, which was removed when tuition was raised 14% for this and next year.