The Board of Regents heard reports on the recently passed state higher education budget and the university’s upcoming budget-reduction plan at a special meeting held Wednesday.

The Washington Legislature has approved a biennial budget that includes a net reduction of $54.16 million, or 10.38 percent, in WSU’s state allocation for the biennium. It is built on the assumption of a 14 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition in each of the two years. As a result, for the 2009-2010 academic year, resident undergraduate tuition would increase $870, from $6,218 to $7,088.

President Elson S. Floyd briefed the board on the process that the university has followed so far in reducing expenditures; Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick M. Bayly outlined the details of the legislative budget; Executive Budget Director Joan King discussed the impact of the tuition increases and Vice President for Enrollment Management John Fraire talked about how increases in financial aid and federal tax credits could lessen the impact of the tuition hikes on individual students and their families.

The university will announce its preliminary budget-reduction plan Friday. University administrators will gather feedback on that plan throughout May, with a goal of finalizing it June 1. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to consider the tuition proposals at its May 8 meeting at WSU Spokane.

King explained the university’s tuition plan, which includes different percentage rate increases for different classifications of students. She said the rates of increase varied to better equalize the impact in real dollar terms on different classes of students.

Floyd said he has already heard from many students who are concerned about the increases. He said the university will do everything it can to provide financial aid and to encourage contributions to support scholarships to offset the impact.

The university has set up a Web page to allow for comments on the proposed tuition increases. It is available at http://regents.wsu.edu/tuition/.

In putting together its budget-reduction plan, the university is working to minimize layoffs,  Floyd said. He said WSU plans to provide at least three months of pay for any full-time administrative professional or civil service employee who is laid off.  

Tuition rate schedule: http://www.wsunews.wsu.edu/Content/Photos/2009/ns%20april/proposed%20tuition%20and%20fees%20for%20fy10+fy11.pdf