WSU Regents Approve Undergraduate Tuition Hike

WSU NEWS PRESS RELEASE-- The Board of Regents of Washington State University on Monday afternoon approved a proposal that will raise tuition for in-state undergraduate students by 16 percent for the 2011-12 academic year.

The tuition increase, which was the amount recommended by the Legislature in passing the state budget last month, means that a typical in-state undergraduate student at WSU will pay $9,374 in tuition for the upcoming academic year.

Other categories of tuition were raised by varying amounts. The complete tuition recommendation and background information is available on-line at http://regents.wsu.edu/meeting-materials/201104A-1.pdf .

The university plans to spend about $2 million of the revenue from the tuition increase to pay for increased financial aid.
“I wish that today’s economic circumstances were different,” said Theodor Baseler, chair of the Board of Regents. “However, we as a board must deal with the situation as it is. I believe this proposal accurately reflects the needs of our university, our students and our state, and I support it.”

The proposal passed on a 7-1 vote, with Student Regent Ericka Christensen voting no. Baseler and WSU President Elson S. Floyd pointed to the series of cuts in WSU’s state allocation as the reason for the double-digit increase in tuition. Floyd said that, even with the revenue from the tuition increase, the university will suffer a significant cut in its overall operating budget for the upcoming biennium.

The budget that is now awaiting the governor’s signature reduces WSU’s state allocation by $108 million or 26 percent from the current maintenance level over the next two years. That will mean that, over four years, the university will have experienced a net state appropriated budget reduction of 52 percent, or $231 million.

Also on Monday, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill granting flexibility to the governing boards of individual state universities in the levels they set tuition.

Floyd said he supports that bill. In this case, however, the university decided not to move away from the 16 percent tuition increase level for in-state undergraduates that was assumed in the higher education budget approved by the Legislature