PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins vowed to remain focused on providing the best possible undergraduate experience and fostering world class research despite Gov. Gary Locke’s recommendation today (Dec. 18) to cut 5 percent or $10.5 million from the university’s general appropriations budget.

“The governor’s budget will give us some challenges, but will not deter us from our key focus: Providing the best possible undergraduate experience and nurturing an environment of world class research, scholarship, and the arts,” Rawlins said.

“At Washington State University, the key focus is providing a quality education for our students. Our other major focus is on our role as a major research institution.”

Rawlins said the university may be forced to consider tuition increases and restricting enrollment to maintain a quality education for students.

“We will begin immediate discussions with regents, students, faculty and staff concerning the budget reductions and possible tuition increases.

“I am pleased the budget does include a 2.6 percent salary increase, despite a delay in implementation of two months. It’s also important to note the governor’s budget includes an increase in state funding of the Need Grant program to cover the cost of tuition increases for low-income students.”

“We have a long-range plan and we are well underway in successfully implementing WSU’s long-term goals,” Rawlins said of four strategic goals recently developed by the university. “Today’s budget will not deter us from achieving those goals.

“However, long term, we need to address funding solutions for higher education that allow us to be competitive. It’s also important to have the flexibility here at the university to make the tough budget decisions and to adjust tuition as needed.”

“But our key focus through all of this is providing a quality education for our students here at Washington State University – and that will continue,” he added.