PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University programs in nursing, pharmacy, viticulture/enology and computer science and mechanical engineering will receive more than $3.3 million over the next two years in state funding targeted at programs for which there is high student demand and economic need.

Overall, the Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded $8.2 million in additional state funding to Washington’s public universities over the next two years. The allocations, announced this week, were made through a competitive process designed to help the state respond to growing demand from students and employers in certain fields of study.

The funding program was included in the 2003-05 state operating budget to address two key issues: student demand for some programs is outpacing availability, and employers are having a harder time finding qualified applicants to fill high-skill job openings.

By the July 18 deadline, the HECB had received 37 funding proposals from the state’s six four-year institutions and five branch campuses. Applicants were asked to address how their program would respond to statewide or regional economic needs and to demonstrate that students in the programs would be sought by employers in Washington state.

WSU’s programs, its two-year funding through the program and the number of additional full-time-equivalent students it will be able to educate through the additional funding are as follows:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing ($1,081,023 million, 65 FTE). This proposal calls for the expanding enrollments in WSU’s BS in nursing program in Spokane and Yakima, and extending the program to the Tri-Cities campus. The university presented strong documentation of the need for additional trained nurses in Eastern Washington and the near-doubling of student enrollment demand in the last two years.

Doctor of Pharmacy ($928,986, 46 FTE). This proposal calls for the addition of 23 FTE students in each of the next two years — an increase of about 20 percent per year — to respond to student and employer demand. Among students, enrollment in the prepharmacy program at WSU has more than quadrupled (from 60 FTE to 260 FTE) in the last three years.

Bachelor of Science in Horticulture – Viticulture and Enology ($666,965, 45 FTE) This proposal builds on the funding provided by the 2003 Legislature for first-year startup of a Washington-focused program in grape-growing and wine making. WSU is working closely with the wine industry and community colleges in the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Walla Walla to develop the state’s first bachelor’s-level program in this field.

Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering ($662,500, 50 FTE). This proposal calls for a program expansion at WSU’s Vancouver campus to develop bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in computer
science. The proposal was initiated by local industries and endorsed by virtually all economic development organizations in Southwest Washington and reflects partnerships with Clark and Lower Columbia community colleges.