Office of Planning and Budgeting

I’m moving on from the UW and wanted to leave a note here on the blog about how much we appreciate any and all readers and to say that you can look forward to even more authors and topics in the near future!

As I exit, the news of the UW linking up with Coursera has hit the press. While MOOCs offer amazing new opportunities for higher education across the world, they are nowhere close to being more than a complement to the education universities currently provide, as was outlined in a recent OPB brief.

As we naturally get caught up in the high hopes for the transformative power of technology in what is considered a very tradition-bound industry, I recommend that anyone interested read a recent book by Columbia Professor of Literature, Andrew Delbanco. College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be  does not so much propose solutions for the myriad outstanding questions about the future of higher education, particularly public higher education, but does a fantastic job of reminding us how and how much higher education has evolved in the United States over time and, most importantly, what education actually is. Any efforts to alter or replace our current delivery model must be grounded in a clear understanding of that model’s origins, essence, and outcomes.

It’s been a pleasure creating and maintaining OPBlog. As always, stay tuned here for the latest from from OPB.

Jessica Thompson

Slow economic recovery and continuing high unemployment rates have significantly increased concern about student borrowing levels. OPB’s latest brief provides basic information and data about student borrowing (in the US and at the UW) to help contextualize such concerns.

New OPB Brief on University of Washington Seattle Campus Planning Initiatives.

The Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB) coordinates and oversees physical campus planning initiatives for the UW’s campuses. OPB is currently engaging partners and experts across the Seattle campus in several new planning initiatives, which are highlighted in this brief. The focus ranges significantly, but current initiatives include projecting future needs (e.g. precinct planning), systems planning (e.g. way finding and signage), master plans for sub-areas and features (e.g. Pend Oreille entrance and North Campus housing), campus-wide plans (e.g. Campus Master Plan), as well as participating in local community planning (e.g. University District planning).

In a rare, surprise move (which has not occurred in the state capitol since 1987), Senate Republicans introduced a striking amendment to the Senate Ways & Means budget on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon and eight hours later, passed their version of the supplemental operating budget with only one amendment adopted. Many amendments were introduced to make changes to the Republican striker, and restore funding to specific areas of state spending, but in the end, only one amendment was carried.

Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) offered an amendment  last night to restore most of the cuts that the Senate Republicans would apply to higher education institutions, passionately declaring, “You don’t have to do this,” after asking where Senate Republicans were doing student testimony on the original Senate budget, which spared higher education institutions from additional cuts.

Despite passionate testimony and procedural action to delay a vote, the new engrossed Senate budget passed 25-24 just after midnight.

This budget is described in greater detail in an OPB brief, which compares the new Senate engrossed budget to the House engrossed budget. All told, the Senate budget would require the UW to take a $12 million cut next fiscal year.

Legislative session is scheduled to end this Thursday, March 8, but this recent shake up will no doubt complicate the last few days of scheduled action.

Debate on the Senate floor yesterday evening was highly emotional and it could take several days before legislators are ready to negotiate differences between the two now very different budget spending plans.

House Ways & Means Chair Ross Hunter released the House supplemental budget proposal today, reducing state expenditures, making fund transfers, delaying payments, and capturing fund savings to deal with the current 2011-13 biennium shortfall of $1.05 billion. The Governor released her budget November 21, 2011, before the February 2012 caseload and revenue forecast improved the outlook for tax collections and caseload requirements.

If this budget ultimately passes, each of the state’s six baccalaureate institutions would reconcile a 2 to 3.5 percent state funding cut over two fiscal years, which compares favorably to the Governor’s budget, which would have cut each of the public baccalaureate universities by 16 to 17 percent. Note that theUW reduction number listed below does not include an offsetting proviso for enrollment support in the College of Engineering ($3.8 million). Please review our budget brief for more information.

 

Senate Ways & Means Chair Ed Murray will release his budget next and each chamber will work toward a conference (compromise) budget. Please check back regularly for budget updates and to review capital budget proposals as they are released.

While we anticipate operating budget proposals from House and Senate Ways & Means Chairs next week, the House Republican caucus released its version of an operating budget today. Note that this proposal is not binding; it is a list of House Republican funding priorities. These priorities focus on funding K12 education, including funding for all-day kindergarten, 180-day school year, levy equalization, and reform measures. Additionally, the House Republican proposal includes increases to public safety funding and does not include a proposed early release program for Washington prisoners.

House Republicans would make a number of changes to higher education institutions that were not included in the Governor’s budget, released in November. The proposal would reduce funding for “administrative costs” by .5 percent at public baccalaureates and remedial education at the community and technical colleges. While no definition of “administrative costs” is provided, budget notes declare that “administrative activities are reduced. Reductions shall be implemented in a manner that minimizes impact on student services.” The UW would need to cut $6.6 million of administrative activities in FY13 if this policy is included in the final budget. Additionally, this proposal temporarily lays off all state employees, including employees at the state’s higher education institutions, for 24 days in FY13. Temporary layoffs would not extend to some critical personnel.

This proposal makes changes to the State Need Grant (SNG) program as well. Students at public baccalaureate institutions would be limited to 12 quarters (or 6 quarters for students at community and technical colleges) of grant funding. Interestingly, this proposal would eliminate SNG funding for students attending private, for profit institutions.

Like the Governor’s budget, the House Republican proposal would fund a $3.8 million Engineering enrollment support initiative at the University of Washington.  All told, the House Republican proposal would reduce administrative expenditures at the UW by $6.6 million and increase funding for the College of Engineering by $3.8 million (for a net reduction of $2.8 million).

Again, initial budgets out of both Senate and House Ways & Means committees will be released next week and we will provide full coverage (including budget briefings) of those proposals at that time.

See the latest OPB brief for information about today’s state revenue forecast update.

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front lately. Mainly due to our focus on redesigning the OPB website, which has just gone live!

In particular, we have:

  • Created a new office directory that allows the user to search for staff by content area.
  • Created multiple ways to identify or locate the content you are searching for, including OPB department homepages, quicklinks for popular destinations, topical top-bar navigation that seeks to direct users to popular content even if they are not familiar with UW/OPB terminology or departmental divides, and a search button specifically for OPB content.
  • Added a homepage SlideDeck feature that highlights more recent content in a user friendly way.
  • Created an automated blog feed on the homepage!

While the website will be a work in progress, we hope it represents a major step forward in terms of the user experience. Look out in the coming months for a great interactive data portal, as well as new interfaces for the BillTracker and for accessing current and historic tuition and fee rates.

Many thanks are owed to Creative Communications for their amazing work with us throughout this project! Their creativity and professionalism (not to mention patience with those of us who knew far too little about all things technical) has been invaluable. We look forward to continuing to work with them as we continue to build out the site!

Please contact us with any feedback, questions, or problems regarding this new website!

The Governor’s budget office released the first supplemental budget proposal today, further reducing state expenditures for the 2011-13 biennium by $1.7 billion. All told, higher education institutions would absorb about nine percent of the total cut.

Under the Governor’s proposal, each of the state’s six baccalaureate institutions  would receive 16-17 percent cuts in state funding for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13), while community and technical colleges would receive a 13 percent cut.

Funding cuts are once again disproportionately concentrated at four-year institutions even though the Governor discussed making equal across-the-board cuts as recently as October, because, as noted by budget staff, four-year institutions have a greater ability to   generate tuition revenue than community colleges.

Note that the Governor’s budget eliminates funding for the state’s Work Study program next academic year but importantly, preserves funding for the State Need Grant program.

For more information about budget increases for the College of Engineering, aerospace innovation funding, and financial aid impacts, please review our Planning & Budgeting brief.

Released this morning, the November state revenue forecast indicates that the state is short another $122 million below needed revenue for the current biennium. Dr. Arun Raha, Executive Director of the Economic Revenue and Forecast Council, wrote that uncertainty over Southern Europe’s debt crisis and potential political gridlock in Washington, D.C., produced largely expected economic results predicted in September’s dismal forecast. In essence, we still have a $2 billion budget problem and since September, it has grown by $122 million.

The Governor will use this forecast as her benchmark for budget reductions in the 2012 Supplemental budget (first supplemental budget of the 2011-13 biennium). All told, the Governor will need to cut over $2 billion from the current biennial budget in order to produce a balanced budget, which she is required to do before proposing any revenue increases to offset reductions.

This budget will be released this Monday, November 21. We will release a budget brief and blog detailing the impact of the Governor’s budget on the UW as soon as possible. While the Governor’s budget release is a critical first step of the special and regular legislative sessions, we are months away from a final legislative budget.

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