PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins said he and members of the Board of Regents will begin campus discussions immediately about proposed tuition increases for the fall.

Most regents will be on campus next month to seek input from students during a series of public hearings on the tuition issue. Although regents have not usually held public hearings, Regent Joe King of Ellensburg said the board members are committed to an open process on the tuition-setting issue.

WSU’s Executive Budget Director Karl Boehmke reviewed state budget impact to the university for regents.

The operating budget on its way to Gov. Gary Locke includes a 5 percent cut to WSU’s base operating budget. In addition, funding previously approved for salary and benefits increases for the second year of the biennium was eliminated. Boehmke said the total impact is 6.9 percent. The budget cuts don’t include unfunded obligations, such as maintenance of new facilities and energy costs. However, the state budget does provide $1.7 million for a recruitment and retention pool.

Rawlins said the cuts to the university equal about $14 million.

The proposed budget authorizes regents to increase tuition up to 16 percent for resident undergraduate students. For other tuition increases, the regents have full discretion.

The budget provides for no general salary increases for state and higher education employees while at the same time providing a 3.6 percent salary hikes for K-12 and community college employees.

The governor has until April 6 to sign or line-item veto the budget.

Boehmke said capital funds for previously authorized projects are provided in the capital budget. In addition, $3 million was added for infrastructure and safety projects as part of a statewide economic stimulus package.

King also noted efforts by former Washington governors Booth Gardner and Dan Evans to help work on development of a plan to fund higher education.

Larry James, campus executive officer and dean of WSU Tri-Cities, told the regents it was a strong statement to have the board meet on the Tri-Cities campus.

James talked about the Tri-Cities campus. “My vision for the campus includes offering Ph.D.s and a greater link with community colleges,” he said. The Tri- Cities campus also is working on strong ties with the Hispanic community. The university has brought in a consultant from the National Hispanic Institute for advice on how to serve the Hispanic community that is interested in accessing WSU Tri-Cities.

Associate Vice Provost Felicia Gaskins told regents that the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has recognized the university’s efforts in successful recruiting and retaining students of color. OSPI awarded the university a Title II grant to produce a video and booklet about the programs. The video highlighting the WSU efforts will be sent to state community colleges, colleges and universities and K-12 schools soon.

In other action, the increases for annual and daily parking permits on the Pullman campus were approved. Smaller increases were proposed for parking zones used primarily by students and where demand is less, larger increases for high-demand parking zones and those used primarily by faculty and staff. No increases were proposed for parking meter or hourly garage rates.

Most parking fines were increased by $5 – $25, depending on the infraction. Parking illegally in a disability space would increase from $50 to $250, which coincides with the state standard. The increases are needed to help cover the cost of new parking facilities and improvements and repairs to existing garages and parking lots. The increases would take effect July 1.

The board also approved a proposal changing how students who take summer credits are charged for using the Student Recreation Center on the Pullman campus. The new system is a pro-rated fee linked to the number of weeks the student is enrolled. Students enrolled three weeks or less would pay $20, four to five weeks $40 and six weeks or more $60. The new summer fees would take effect Summer Session 2002.

Also approved was a proposal to increase fees at the center by 15 percent or the percentage of undergraduate tuition increases, whichever is less. Without the increase, the center would have to reduce the hours that it is open or the level of service. The increase will take effect fall 2002. Vice President for Business Greg Royer noted that 80 percent of WSU’s first-year students use the center that has received four national awards.

In other action, regents will allow university officials to select a general contractor/construction manager for the Edward R. Murrow Hall Addition on the Pullman campus and a student services center at WSU Vancouver. The board also gave the go ahead for a water systems upgrade at WSU Prosser Irrigated Agriculture and Research Center.