SEATTLE, Wash. — Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins told National Public Radio listeners today (Aug. 28) that the state’s two research universities will be working together to tell Washington citizens about the need to support higher education.

“Starting now, Richard McCormick, president of the University of Washington, and I are asking all Cougars and Huskies to come together for the future of the kids in this state and for our economy,” Rawlins said.

The WSU president said he and McCormick will soon work out details on how they will talk with groups throughout the state.

“The state of Washington’s investment in higher education, particularly for the two research universities, has been slipping for years, putting our economic future in jeopardy,” Rawlins said. “Meanwhile, other states have been investing new money–hundreds of millions of dollars in their research universities.

“Our children deserve a quality education,” Rawlins said. “And the people of this state deserve to have the discoveries in health, medicine and science that come from our research universities.”

Rawlins believes the people of this state deserve to have a thriving economy that creates jobs and new businesses. Every year WSU and UW attract nearly a billion dollars in research funding from outside the state, money that drives our economy through jobs, creation of businesses and expansion of businesses.

“Higher education is a good public investment,” the president told listeners. “In fact, there are few investment as positive as an investment in education.”

Rawlins re-emphasized his belief that students should not have to pay the majority of the cost for public higher education. “The state needs to decide who should pay and then follow through with a plan,” he said. “The state’s citizens need to see (from the Legislature) some level of commitment and intention, driven by a formula.”

The WSU president said higher education in the state has crossed the line and may limit its competitiveness since tuition now is supporting about 50 percent of the institutions’ operating and instructional costs.

The WSU president discussed higher education funding in the state on KUOW’s “Weekday.” The program, hosted by Steve Scher, also featured Stacey Valentin, a senior at Western Washington University and member of the Higher Education Coordinating Board; State Rep. Fred Jarrett of Mercer Island and a member of the House Higher Education Committee; and State Senator Ken Jacobsen, 46th Legislative District.