SEATTLE – The Boards of Regents of Washington State University and the University of Washington adopted a joint resolution Friday calling for more state funding to allow the universities to maintain quality while meeting increased student demand.
Meeting in a joint session on the University of Washington campus, the two boards stressed the importance of adequately funding research universities both to serve students and to support research that will be instrumental in building Washington’s economy.
“There is a real commitment on both of our parts to quality, and I think this resolution lays that out,” said Bill Marler, president of the WSU Board of Regents.
“The regents are not saying that we are turning away from our commitment to provide higher education to the people of our state,” said UW President Lee Huntsman. “All the regents are saying is that we should not be enrolling students beyond the levels funded by the state.”
The regents expressed their understanding of the problems facing the Legislature in making fiscal choices in a difficult budget year. But according to the resolution, UW and WSU currently educate more than 1,700 students for whom no state funding is provided.
“It really is a conflict. You want to provide as many opportunities as you can. On the other hand, you don’t want to bring in students and not offer them the quality that you have guaranteed,” said WSU President V. Lane Rawlins.
The resolution states the intention of Washington’s two research universities to cap freshman and transfer enrollments until significant progress is made to improve per student funding. The universities further resolve to manage enrollments to the level funded by the state in an effort to maintain educational quality and to allow currently enrolled students to graduate in a timely fashion.
Friday’s meeting was the second joint session of the two boards. It was held on the day before the annual Apple Cup football game between the WSU Cougars and UW Huskies to be played in Seattle on Saturday (Nov. 22).