Early next month, the WSU Board of Regents will consider and adopt new tuition rates for the 2012-13 academic year. To formulate the proposed tuition rates, WSU has used our shared governance process by involving faculty, students and staff through the University Tuition Committee. I commend this committee for its thoughtful deliberations and advice.
For the first time in four years, the supplemental budget passed by the Legislature requires no additional reductions to higher education. No additional cuts are a victory for WSU and its students. There was simply no way our university could absorb additional reductions without doing lasting damage to the academic and research programs that will rebuild our state’s economy and educate our future leaders.
With no additional cuts expected for the 2012-13 academic year, WSU can move forward with the plans we enacted to meet the original 2011-13 biennial budget. Of course, that budget was a difficult one for WSU. The Legislature built that budget assuming an increase of about $1,500 per year in resident undergraduate tuition (a 16% increase), along with comparable increases for other tuition categories, for both years of the biennium. Even with such drastic tuition increases, WSU faces a shortfall of $40 million for the biennium.
The continuing shift in the cost of education is an ongoing concern to WSU, its students and their families. Unfortunately the budget assumptions made by the Legislature leave us little flexibility with regard to tuition increases for next year. Simply stated, failure to adopt the tuition increases assumed in the legislative budget will require further reductions to programs, services and course offerings.
The University Tuition Committee was established to consider tuition rates for next year, as well as longer-term tuition policies and models. The Committee, with student, faculty and staff representatives from all campuses, assessed the tuition rates for the coming year and formulated tuition recommendations for our four campuses. I have accepted most of their recommendations. The committee’s recommendations are available here on the Budget Office website for review and comment, as well as the recommendations I plan to advance to the Regents subject to public comment.
I have asked the Chancellors of our Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses to seek input on the recommendations from students groups on their respective campuses, and I will meet with ASWSU and GPSA leadership here in Pullman to seek additional feedback. There will also be opportunities for our students in the Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Nursing programs to provide input.
We invite students, their families, faculty and staff to provide feedback on the proposed tuition rates for 2012-13. The input gathered from the online comment site and the public meetings with student groups will be shared with the Board of Regents for review during their consideration of the proposed tuition rates.