Compiled by Kelly Sullivan/The AS Review
At the beginning of the year, the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board released a report titled, “Key Facts about Higher Education in Washington.” The report presented data on the funding levels, student population and educational benefits from colleges and universities across the state. These are excerpts from the report, which is available in full at www.hecb.wa.gov.
• In 2009, there were 125,997 students enrolled in four-year colleges and 269,334 enrolled in two- year colleges in Washington state.
• After the state ordered spending cuts in 2010 to deal with the effects of the national recession, a $687 million gap opened up between the available funds for public higher education and the amount needed to maintain education programs at the same level as before.
• Colleges have tried to make up for this gap by increasing tuition by 14 percent at four-year colleges, and 7 percent at two-year colleges, as well as cutting staff and programs.
• There are no laws in Washington state that protect the number of higher educational services the state is required to have available for its residents, which is why higher education is so heavily hit when it comes to reductions in state funding.
• Washington state’s total operating budget for 2009-11 is $60.2 billion, $9.4 of which is allocated for public colleges and universities. This budget includes federal stimulus money.
• Western Washington University received $111 million from the $9.4 billion of the state’s allocation to public colleges and universities. The University of Washington received $628 million. UW received significantly more because it is primarily a research college and also operates a hospital.
•It currently costs $9,981 to provide one student with one year of education at Western. It costs $10,993 to provide one student one year of education at UW.
•Tuition covers 47 percent of the cost of one year’s worth of schooling, while the remaining 53 percent comes from state support. The average annual loan for students seeking financial aid is $9,119.
•In 2007-08, Washington ranked first in the nation in the number of degrees earned for every 100 students enrolled in college. However, based on total state population, Washington ranked below the national average for the number of degrees earned for every 1,000 residents. ■