Topic: university of washington
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October 28, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Nobody likes to pay parking tickets. State senator and mayoral candidate Ed Murray is no exception.
Murray got irritated in October 2010 when confronted with an old parking ticket at the University of Washington, recently released records show.
The ticket amounted to $60 with late fees, but Murray refused to pay it, according to records released by the UW after a public-disclosure request. He’d stopped by the UW parking office to pick up new parking passes he needed as a UW employee but was told he first needed to resolve the old violation.
In an email to parking officials, Murray complained he’d been unaware of the ticket, which hadn’t come up the last time he picked up parking passes. He wrote that he only would have been on campus in 2008 “in my capacity as Washington State Senator.”
“Since I have no intention of paying for a violation I have no knowledge of and since you are unwilling to sale [sic] me parking passes, please cancel my UPASS. I will buy parking in the area and drive to work every day,” Murray wrote in the Oct. 7, 2010, email. (The U-PASS is a discounted bus and transit pass for UW staff and students.)
UW parking employees appeared nervous at the blast from a powerful state politician. In an email, one wrote there was proof that notice of the ticket had been mailed to Murray’s home in addition to being placed on his vehicle. “I can certainly waive the late fee, but I can’t erase the ticket,” the employee wrote to a coworker, adding “this one may be sensitive.”
Murray never had to pay. The next day, the UW’s lobbying department intervened and said it would cover the cost, saying “the citation appears to be from an official visit.”
In an interview, Murray said he had a fairly limited budget as a legislator and was constantly picking up the tab for parking and other official expenses.
February 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM
University of Washington President Michael Young spent a day in Olympia earlier this week, and came away with concerns about how some policy decisions are being made without regard to funding issues, he told The Seattle Times editorial board Thursday.
In an hour-long meeting with editorial writers, Young said that legislators are making broad policy decisions about higher education — such as tuition freezes – without also taking into consideration the need to increase funding. That’s largely a matter of timing – the Legislature won’t be able to write a budget until after it receives the latest revenue forecast, in March.
“The conversation in Olympia has been going in the wrong direction for the last few weeks,” he said. Among his concerns:
- A tuition freeze. Young said he worries that legislators are discussing bills that would freeze tuition next year without also recognizing that a freeze would require an increase in funding to the state’s universities. The six presidents of the state’s four-year schools have said they would freeze tuition if the Legislature would increase higher education funding by $225 million over the 2013-15 biennium – an increase of about 20 percent over the last biennium. ”Policy discussions need to be attached to budget discussions, and at the moment they’re not,” he said.
- Differential tuition. UW officials say they’ve lost on this one – that is, they expect a bill to pass that would take away the university’s ability to charge higher tuition rates for some degrees. (The full House has already passed a bill, HB 1043, to do just that, and on Thursday a similar bill, SB 5835, cleared a Senate committee.) The problem: Charging a higher tuition would reset the payout for the state’s prepaid tuition plan to a higher rate, causing financial woes for the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) plan. Young is no fan of GET — he calls it “a really quite wonderful subsidy for the upper middle class,” and notes that many states have abandoned similar programs because it’s so hard to price advanced tuition credits appropriately.
- The impact of Initiative 1185 on tuition increases. State Sen. Pam Roach and Initiative supporter Tim Eyman both say they believe the initiative takes tuition-setting authority away from the governing boards of state universities. But Young, who is a lawyer, called it “a silly argument” and said he believes the Attorney General’s office has made it clear that the Legislature can delegate tuition-setting authority to the university’s governing boards.
Young also discussed the impact of federal sequestration, which could go into effect next week and would be a big problem for the UW because it gets more federal funding than any other public research university in the country. Most of that money comes from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation; Young said the UW could lose $85 million under sequestration, which might cause some long-running research programs to close when their funding runs out, leading to job losses.
February 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM
OLYMPIA — Washington students are one step closer to having a larger role in decisions made by public university officials.
House Bill 1331, which allows student governments to form committees advising school administrations, passed the House on Wednesday, 95-1. Bill sponsor Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, said student input is becoming increasingly important, given rising tuition.
“As students are spending more on education, they deserve a seat at the table where these decisions are being made,” Riccelli said.
State statutes currently allow university students to form student governments that act as liaisons between student bodies and administrators. Student governments are already involved in setting and allocating activity fees, which fund services ranging from on-campus gyms to health centers.
Under the House bill, students could form a committee to advise the administration on issues affecting student access to education, including tuition levels and fees. The administration would then be required to provide the committee with all non-confidential information that students could use to make recommendations.
The University of Washington already has such a committee –- the Provost Advisory Committee for Students (PACS), which was implemented during the 2011-2012 school year. Margaret Shepherd, a lobbyist for the university, said University of Washington administrators support HB 1331.
Student representatives Angie Weiss, with the Associated Students of the University of Washington, and Tristan Hanon, with the Associated Students of Washington State University, also support the bill. Hanon said his student government has no trouble communicating with WSU President Elson Floyd, but he wants to preserve the right for students to come.
“I don’t want that to change, and I feel like this bill cements that precedent,” Hanon said.
The legislation must now move through the Senate before being sent to the governor’s desk. Sen. Barbara Bailey, an Oak Harbor Republican who chairs the Higher Education Committee, said the bill will be given a hearing within the next few weeks. She said she won’t form opinions until after she hears public testimony, and is unsure how the bill will fare on the Senate floor.
February 15, 2013 at 9:08 AM
Tuition rates for international students attending Washington’s state universities would increase by 20 percent if state Senate moves forward with a bill proposed by Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina. Tom intends the tuition increase to go toward Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, which is in need of additional funding.
Tom argued that the bill isn’t an attack on international students, but rather is more of a recognition that foreigners attending state universities are using public programs that they haven’t supported with taxes. Several representatives from Washington universities and student governments testified about the proposal Thursday before the Senate Higher Education Committee, but none supported it.
Angie Weiss, who represents the Associated Students of the University of Washington, said she’s glad Tom is looking for ways to fund GET, but international students shouldn’t be paying for a program they don’t use. She also expressed concern that international students might avoid Washington universities if their tuition is increased by such a significant amount.
“We would like to find a different way for [international students] to contribute,” Weiss said. “And we would like to find a different way to find the GET program.”
International students make up about 6 percent of Washington State University’s student body. But Tristan Hanon, an Associated Students of Washington State University representative, said their presence is greatly valued on campus. He said international students teach Washington residents to be global citizens and encourage them to explore study abroad opportunities. Hanon recently studied in England at the urging of a European friend.
University administrations are also wary of the tuition increase. University of Washington lobbyist Margaret Shepherd said UW officials worry the draft bill could lead to a sharp decrease in international student enrollment if enacted. International students make up about 10 percent of the university’s undergraduate population and about 14 percent of the graduate student population
February 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM
This post has been updated to include new information
A two-year-old bit of legislation allowing state universities to charge variable tuition rates for different majors may be headed for a quick demise.
Late Thursday, the House Higher Education Committee voted unanimously to end the so-called “differential tuition.” The bill, House Bill 1043, now goes for a vote before the full House on Monday, said state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, who heads the higher ed committee.
State four-year schools gained the authority to charge differential tuition in 2011 so they could support and grow high-demand programs, like computer science, engineering and business. Those programs often cost more to run because they require small-group mentoring by faculty, and because professors in those programs often command higher salaries — they’re in big demand in the marketplace.
The only problem: If the University of Washington charged more for a computer science degree, the state’s prepaid college tuition program’s payout would have to be raised to match that program’s tuition. That’s because the Guaranteed Education Tuition program is pegged to the highest undergraduate, in-state tuition among public colleges.
GET is already underfunded by about $600 million. The new payout would have greatly exacerbated the problem.
“We need, for GET, to shut that (differential tuition) program down,” said Seaquist, who said his bill has bipartisan support.
The differential tuition legislation was suspended last year, so none of Washington’s six four-year colleges has ever charged extra for certain degrees. The only school that said it was interested in doing so was the UW.
February 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM
The latest attempt to address the escalating cost of higher education comes from Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, who’s introduced a bill that would limit state college tuition increases to the rate of inflation through 2018.
HB 1624 aims to move Washington toward a 50-50 split between students and the state, with students paying half the cost of their education and the state paying the rest.
Currently, at the University of Washington, students pay about 70 percent of the cost of their education — this year, that’s tuition and fees of $12,400. The state pays for the rest, through appropriations to the university.
Pollet said his bill has support from both parties — from fellow Democrat Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, as well as Republicans Larry Haler of Richland and Hans Zeiger of Puyallup. Seaquist and Pollet are chair and co-chair of the House Higher Education Committee.
Pollet’s goal is to keep tuition at UW and Washington State University to about 10 percent of median household income, which is where it was five years ago. Currently, it’s grown to 20 percent of median household income, he said.
Pollet said keeping tuition in line with inflation would take an additional $198 million over the next biennium for both four-year schools and community colleges. In a separate bill Pollet has filed, HB 1494, he is proposing a doubling of the estate tax to help raise about $100 million per biennium for higher education.
Slowing tuition growth would have the added benefit of stabilizing the Guaranteed Tuition Education program, which is underfunded, Pollet said.
January 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM
The state Attorney General’s office gave a quick response Wednesday to a question state Sen. Pam Roach, R- Auburn, asked this week about whether state university and college tuition rates must be approved by the Legislature.
At issue is whether Initiative 1185, the voter-approved initiative that requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, requires the state Legislature to approve tuition rates. And the answer is yes — in a letter to Roach, Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Even wrote that I-1185 has the same effect as its predecessor, I-1053, which requires legislative approval for an increase in public tuition rates, although “that legislative approval could take any number of potential forms.”
“The good news is that with this, thanks to voters approving it, the only way tuition is going up is if the Legislature chooses to vote for it,” said Tim Eyman, the sponsor of I-1185.
But University of Washington officials say they have sought, and received, legislative approval to raise tuition rates for several years now. The governing bodies at state schools vote on a tuition amount for the next year, and the tuition increases are later written into the state budget, which is then approved by the Legislature, said Margaret Shepherd, director of state relations for the UW. “We don’t see any change from current practice,” she said.
Eyman said he thinks the Legislature won’t give the universities that latitude this year. “In this tug of war, the last tug was the voters,” he said. “The Legislature has the authority to set tuition. They would be foolish to give it back.”
November 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM
With a $1 billion state revenue shortfall predicted for the upcoming biennium, University of Washington students are calling on the Legislature to approve new resources of revenue and restore funding to higher education.
The students, who unveiled their legislative agenda at a press conference at University Book Store Tuesday morning, support a capital gains tax, which could raise as much as $700 million revenue for the state. They also support legislation that would restructure research and development tax credits, which would raise about $26 million a year.
“Investing in higher education is the way to get the economy back on track,” said Melanie Mayock, vice-president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. “Without new revenue this year, there’s no way we’re not going to see cuts to higher education.”
The students were joined by Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, who noted that five years ago the cost of undergraduate, in-state tuition and fees at the UW was 10 percent of the median household income. This year, the cost – more than $12,000 a year – is 20 percent. “It is unacceptable,” he said.
Pollet said he thinks the capital gains tax has a good chance of passing this year – in part because he’s confident that the state Supreme Court will strike down the Tim Eyman-backed Initiative 1053 that requires all tax bills to pass by a two-thirds vote. However, a similar initiative was approved by voters again last week.
Evan Smith, president of the undergraduate student government, said students are also paying attention to a proposal by Washington State University President Elson Floyd that would limit WSU tuition increases. Floyd has said that if the Legislature maintains or exceeds current budget levels for higher education, WSU would tie tuition increases to the cost of living.
“That’s a courageous proposal by WSU,” said Smith, who said one of the worst problems with unpredictable tuition hikes is that they make it hard for students and their families to make financial plans. The UW has raised tuition by double-digit percentages four years in a row, including a 20 percent hike in 2011.
Smith also spoke in favor of new legislation that would support the creation of student committees to help guide university policy and decisions. Smith said that because state support has been sharply cut back, students now pay more than 70 percent of the overall cost of college; the state, which once picked up 80 percent of the cost, now pays for only about 30 percent.
That makes students one of the biggest shareholders in the system. Students are working to try to get university administrations to back their proposal, he said.
October 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM
The Seattle Times politics team invites you to join us Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for our live chat on the presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. We will be joined this evening by David Domke, political communications expert and chairman of the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Also with us for this exciting event will be Times’ political reporter Jim Brunner, Times political editor Richard Wagoner, Elizabeth Wiley, contributor to UW Election Eye blog and myself.
Questions, comments, critiques all welcome and encouraged.
We’re also asking readers and viewers to join a research project led by University of Missouri professors Mitchell S. McKinner and J. Brian Houston examining how viewers throughout the nation respond via Twitter to the candidates and their performances tonight.
Debate tweeters can participate by using the hashtag #STdebate.
The professors are hoping to develop an approach to understand, analyze and interpret Twitter and social media reactions to political events.
Houston and McKinney are hoping that their analysis will give them an idea of key issues and moments during the debate and the relative responses of males and females to each candidate.
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