Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It’s broke, and we need to fix it

Photo credit:  University of Washington
They aren’t the first ones to say so, but the University of  Washington Board of Regents spelled it out about as clearly as could be earlier this month in what it called a “Declaration of Concern for the Sustainability of Washington Public Higher Education.” The state’s system for financing public colleges and universities is not working, and it needs to be repaired, big time.
The Regents, who are the governing board of the university, do say they are grateful that the 2012 state supplement operating budget that was passed by the Legislature in April did not make any cuts to higher education. That’s due mainly to the efforts of House Democrats:  In the contentious negotiations that produced a budget, they blocked a Republican effort to once again slash aid to public universities.
But that holding of the line came after years of cuts – and, the regents said, those cuts have “radically and unduly shifted the burden of financing the higher education system to students.”
That’s because the schools have had to raise tuition dramatically to make up for the drop-off  in state support.
“Under the current fiscal trajectory,” the regents said,“something has to give, and it should not be the quality of the University’s faculty and staff, its offerings to students, or its contributions to the discovery of knowledge.”

To read this story in Spanish, click here.