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November 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM
WASHINGTON — Washington State University President Elson Floyd came to Capitol Hill Wednesday to lobby against a now-familiar target — the federal budget ax known as sequestration.
Floyd joined the heads of five other research universities to remind lawmakers of the ways that automatic spending cuts are hurting R&D and slowing the economy.
“You can never do that too much,” Floyd said.
Some $85 billion in cuts went into effect in March, split between discretionary spending on defense and non-defense programs. Further annual cuts are scheduled unless Republicans and Democrats can agree on alternatives.
Floyd spoke after a morning meeting with Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, whose 5th District includes WSU’s Pullman campus. McMorris Rodgers has strongly backed spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit and the debt.
Floyd said McMorris Rodgers “clearly understands the negative implications of the sequester.” He said he did not ask the Spokane congresswoman if she supports doing away with the sequester.
Floyd was also schedule to meet with Sen. Patty Murray. The Washington Democrat has been pushing to replace the sequester as co-chair of a budget conference committee that is hammering out a spending plan for the rest of this fiscal year. So far, the two parties have shown little public signs of accord.
Joining Floyd on the Hill were presidents of, among others, University of California, Los Angeles; Tulane University and University of Texas.
March 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM
Earlier this year, the presidents of Washington’s four-year colleges promised to freeze in-state undergraduate tuition if the Legislature would allocate an additional $225 million to fund higher education.
But that scenario is looking less likely every day. If there are no increases — but also no cuts — tuition is likely to go up by about 5 to 7 percent in the next school year. Washington State University probably would raise tuition a little less than that, by about 2 to 3 percent.
The picture should become more clear Wednesday, when the state releases its revenue forecast.
Last week, the state learned that its budget shortfall had grown by $300 million, primarily because it miscalculated how much money it would save from moving certain Medicaid patients to managed care. The total budget shortfall is now about $1.3 billion.
“Conversations have gotten increasingly pessimistic,” said Margaret Shepherd, director of state relations for the University of Washington. “Legislators are telling us no new cuts would be a victory.”
State Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, says he’s still hoping to add an extra $300 million for all higher education needs, including money for faculty salary increases and help for community and technical colleges. But he noted that a House Republican proposal unveiled earlier added no new money to higher education, and “I have not seen signs that the House Democrats are planning to add money.”
“I’m now quite alarmed,” he said.
Shepherd said she expects most of the four-year universities will raise tuition by more than inflation, but less than double-digit increases — “somewhere between 5 to 7 percent to meet basic needs.”
WSU would raise its tuition less because last year President Elson Floyd pledged to keep tuition increases at the rate of inflation if higher education funding was not cut, said Chris Mulick, director of governmental relations at WSU. A cost-of-living tuition increase would be about 2 to 3 percent, he said.
It’s also unclear how the budget would affect community college tuition. Marty Brown, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, said that if there’s no new money from the state and no new tuition dollars, “it’s a reduction” because of inflation.
“We’re just starting the conversation as to what happens if there’s no cuts and no adds,” he said.
November 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM
Former state Senate majority leader Lisa Brown, an associate professor at Gonzaga University, has a new job: She will become chancellor at Washington State University Spokane beginning in January.
Brown will replace Brian Pitcher, who will stay on in a senior role assisting Brown.
Brown served in the Legislature for 20 years, starting in the House in 1992 and moving to the Senate in 1996. She did did not run for re-election this year.
Brown teaches in the graduate-level Organizational Leadership Program at Gonzaga and spearheaded the health sciences education and research initiative in Spokane. There was no immediate word on her salary.
In 2005, she became the first Democratic woman in the state to be Senate majority leader. She studied economics at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she earned a Ph.D.
The Spokane campus of WSU is a graduate and professional research institution in the health sciences. Its new biomedical and health sciences building is scheduled to be completed in fall 2013.
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