Seattle PI Article: Governor signs bill allowing branch campus expansion

May 4, 2005

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TACOMA, Wash. — Branches of the University of Washington and Washington State University can soon begin admitting freshmen and sophomores and will be able to award four-year degrees under a measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

The campuses can make the changes starting in the fall of 2006. Until now, they could offer only junior and senior years of coursework toward a bachelor’s degree, and courses leading to master’s degrees.

“We’ve had a ‘no vacancy’ sign up at our colleges and universities for too many students for too long,” Gregoire said at the signing ceremony at the UW Tacoma campus. “We must create more room for students to get the education they need to compete in our 21st century economy.”

The law allows WSU-Vancouver to admit freshmen and sophomores and develop into its own four-year university. WSU Tri-Cities will offer a four-year degree in bioengineering and will be allowed to teach lower-division courses in fields not offered at the local community college.

The UW branches at Tacoma and Bothell will offer lower division courses that aren’t available at local community colleges. Both schools will also gradually admit freshmen and sophomore students.

Also under the new law:

-Up to four of the state’s two-year colleges would have pilot bachelor’s degree programs that aren’t offered by the state’s four-year universities. The degrees would be applied-science or technical degrees such as radiological science.

-Community colleges and regional universities are encouraged to work together to offer four-year degrees on community college campuses so students do not have to relocate to complete their degrees.

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