Office of Planning and Budgeting

UW Fast Facts 2018 – Now Available!

Posted under OPB News and Announcements by Lauren Hatchett 

The 2018 edition of UW Fast Facts is now available. You can find it on the OPB website under the UW Data tab, and in the Quicklinks bar on the left. You can also access it directly at UW Fast Facts.

A special thank you to OPB’s Institutional Analysis team, the Marketing & Communications team and to our partners around the UW for their work to gather, verify and crosscheck data; format the document; and pull it all together.

Governor Inslee’s 2018 Supplemental Operating and Capital Budgets

Posted under State Legislature, UW Budget by Jed Bradley 

Governor Jay Inslee released supplemental operating and capital budget proposals on Thursday. For more information, please see OPB’s brief. The Governor’s operating budget proposal includes technical corrections and minor appropriation changes to the current 2017-19 biennial budget (fiscal years 2018 and 2019). Because the legislature did not pass a capital budget in 2017, the Governor’s capital budget is a two-year budget covering the entire biennium.

Despite moderate growth predicted in the November Revenue Forecast, lawmakers in Olympia face significant challenges. Most notably, the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that the legislature has still not met its obligations to fully fund K-12 education required by their ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington. Governor Inslee’s proposal reflects this budgetary reality, proposing increases for K-12 education but only minor changes in overall funding for higher education institutions compared to the enacted 2017-19 biennial budget. New investments directed at the UW include additional funding for computer science enrollments.

On the capital side, the Governor’s proposal is similar to the proposed final capital budget that was negotiated, but ultimately not approved, in the 2017 session. That budget was not passed due to a disagreement over a fix to a different Washington Supreme Court decision regarding water rights (Whatcom County v. Hirst).

The Governor’s budget release marks the first step of the 2018 legislative session – set to begin on Monday, January 8, 2018. As a reminder, the House and the Senate will propose their own budgets throughout this short 60-day session as they work toward compromise supplemental budgets.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates during the 2018 legislative session.

November Revenue Forecast Shows Incremental Growth

Posted under Revenue Forecast, State Legislature by Lauren Hatchett 

Today, the Washington state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released November revenue forecast. The forecast increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue for the 2017-19 biennium by $304 million. Projected revenue collections for the 2019-21 biennium have also increased by $186 million. These new projections show a slight increase from the September revenue forecast.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • Final GF-S revenue collections for the 2015-17 biennium, which ended June 30, 2017, were $38.317 billion, an increase of 13.8 percent over the 2013-15 biennium ($6 million higher than what was estimated in September 2017).
  • $43.566 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 13.7 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium.
  • $47.582 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 9.2 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium.

Behind the numbers:

  • Cumulative major GF-S revenue collections from September 11, 2017 through November 10, 2017 were $119 million (3.9%) higher than forecasted in September.
  • Forecasted personal income in Washington is slightly higher than September.
  • The forecast attributes most changes in revenue to property taxes. Under legislation passed in the 2017 special sessions, property taxes for the next four years will increase by a new formula that will lead to more revenue collection.
  • Similar to the September forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

This is the last revenue forecast of the year. Governor Jay Inslee will use the November revenue forecast to craft his 2018 supplemental budget proposal (amending the 2017-19 biennial budget), which is expected to be released in December. Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the Governor’s budget proposal when it is released.

Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition Program Reopens after Two Year Freeze

Posted under Higher Ed News by Lauren Hatchett 

According to a recent story by The Seattle Times, Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program officially reopened on November 1. The GET program is a college-savings program. Under GET, families purchase GET units, currently valued at $113, to prepay the cost of tuition. GET account holders are guaranteed that 100 units will cover one year of full-time, undergraduate, resident tuition and fees at Washington’s most expensive public university at any point in the future.

In July 2015, the GET Committee authorized a two-year delay in most new unit sales, given the legislature’s decision to decrease resident undergraduate tuition at public institutions. During this time, GET was required to complete a legislatively mandated study to evaluate its future. The GET Committee voted to reopen the program earlier this summer and to “rebase” all existing accounts. Customers who held accounts prior to the freeze were given additional units because the unit payout value was reset to reflect current, lower, tuition. GET is now available to people who want to start new accounts and those who want to continue buying GET units.

The legislatively mandated study also tasked the GET Committee with looking into implementing other college savings options, such as a “529” college savings plan (which refers to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code). As a result of that effort, a new 529 savings plan, to be offered alongside GET, is currently scheduled to open in early 2018.

New OPB Brief on Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) Trends

Posted under Institutional Research, UW Budget by Sharyl Morris 

OPB has released a new brief that provides an overview of Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) distribution principles and trends at the UW in Seattle. This brief updates last year’s overview, adding the most recent year’s data. It compares the ABB budgets of Seattle academic units to those of Seattle administrative units over the last seven years (FY12-FY18). The brief also describes a change in the distribution methodology of net tuition operating fee revenue that became effective in FY18.

A few noteworthy trends described in the brief include:

  • Every academic unit’s ABB budget has increased since FY12.
  • Academic units continue to experience more budget growth than administrative units, both in terms of real dollars and in terms of proportionate growth.
  • Of the 34 percent total combined ABB budget growth for Seattle academic and administrative units, 73 percent occurred in academic units, while the remaining 27 percent occurred in administrative units.

The brief also touches on ABB’s future at UW. OPB is working with stakeholders to address emergent issues identified since ABB’s implementation, such as potentially duplicative courses and degrees, the distribution of supplement funds (e.g. permanent base budgets), and summer quarter revenue from programs run by the Continuum College.

September Revenue Forecast Indicates Moderate Increase in Projected Revenue

Posted under Revenue Forecast, State Legislature by Lauren Hatchett 

Last month, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their September revenue forecast, the first forecast of the current fiscal year. The forecast increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $279 million for the current 2017-19 biennium and $243 million for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium. These increases are on top of increases projected in the June revenue forecast.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • $38.311 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 13.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium
  • $43.262 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 12.9 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $47.396 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 9.6 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast is similar to the June forecast, but with slightly higher revenue projections. Most of the extra collections are projected to occur in the current biennium, which began on July 1, 2017.
  • The forecast attributes most changes in revenue to legislation that was passed in 2017 session, after the June forecast. The largest increases came from an increase to the state property tax levy for basic education and from an extension of retail sales and B&O tax liability to more categories of online sales. The legislature also repealed a sales tax exemption for bottled water. These legislative changes accounted for an additional $2.4 billion in the current biennium.
  • Similar to the June forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

As a reminder, there will be one more forecast in November, on which the Governor will base his proposed 2018 supplemental budget (amending the enacted 2017-19 biennial budget).

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts and the upcoming 2018 legislative session.

OPBlog: Introduction

Posted under OPB News and Announcements by Lauren Hatchett 

Hi! I am Lauren Hatchett, and I am the 2017-18 Legislative and Policy Analysis Intern with the Office of Planning & Budgeting. I am also a graduate student in the Masters in Education Policy Program in the College of Education. Before moving to Seattle and starting my program, I worked for an education initiative in Louisville, KY that is focused on changing the college-going culture at the city level. I am excited to join the OPB team and am looking forward to diving into the world of higher education policy. I will update this blog throughout the year with posts related to trends in higher education, federal and state legislative issues, and UW-specific policy initiatives.

Please feel free to provide feedback along the way. I can be contacted at Thanks for reading!

Two New Rankings List the UW among Top Universities

Posted under Higher Ed News, Institutional Research by Kyle Schoenfeld 

The University of Washington is ranked #25 in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. While other top U.S. universities have slipped in the rankings, the UW maintains its #25 position for the second year in a row. For the first time in the history of the THE rankings, neither of the top two universities are in the U.S.

The THE World University Rankings were first published in 2004. This year’s rankings list 1,000 universities around the world.

Five categories contribute to a university’s ranking score. Of these, teaching (measured by reputation survey, student-faculty ratio, and number of doctoral degrees), research (measured by reputation survey, research income, and publication count), and citations combine to account for 90 percent of the score. The UW scores particularly highly in the citation category, measured as the number of times a university’s researchers are cited by other scholars. The UW’s #17 ranking in citations, with a score of 99.0 out of 100, contributes to its high overall score. In contrast, the UW’s scores in international outlook and industry income—which together account for 10 percent of the overall ranking—are lower in comparison with other top universities.

More information about the Times Higher Ed methodology is available on their website.

The UW is also ranked highly on this year’s U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list, coming in at #56 among national universities and #18 among public universities. While this represents a slight drop from last year’s #16 ranking among public universities, it continues a long run of being listed among the top 20.

The U.S. News rankings are calculated using seven categories of data: graduation and retention rates; assessment surveys of academic peers and high school guidance counselors; faculty resources; admissions selectivity; per-student spending; performance relative to predicted graduation rate; and alumni donations. Along with the overall university rankings, U.S. News also calculates several more specific lists. The UW ranked highly for undergraduate engineering programs (#11 among doctorate-granting public universities), best colleges for veterans (#11 among public universities), and undergraduate business programs (#14 among public universities).

More information about the U.S. News methodology is available on their website.

The UW’s recognition in these rankings follows the Academic Ranking of World Universities (which ranked the UW #13 in the world) and the Center for World University Rankings (which gave the UW top-10 rankings in 45 subject categories), both published earlier in 2017.

New Ranking Lists the UW among Top Global Universities

Posted under Higher Ed News, Institutional Research by Jed Bradley 

The University of Washington is ranked #13 among world universities on the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). While the UW has consistently ranked among the top 20 universities each year since the ARWU was first published, this year’s ranking is the highest it has achieved to date.

The ARWU was first published in 2003 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for World-Class Universities. Since 2009, the ranking has been published by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, which is not affiliated with any university. This year, the ARWU ranked 1300 universities around the world, and published the list of the top 500.

Like the recently-published Center for World University Rankings list, the ARWU calculates its rankings based on a university’s external recognition. The components of the ARWU ranking include: total number of alumni and faculty winning major awards; number of highly-cited researchers employed; and counts the number of papers published and cited. The UW scores especially highly in the number of faculty-authored articles indexed in major science and social-science citation indices. In contrast, the number of UW alumni awarded Nobel Prizes or Fields Medals is lower when compared with other top universities. More information about the ARWU’s methodology is available on their website.

In addition to their overall rankings, the ARWU also publishes subject rankings in a number of fields in the natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences, and social sciences. The UW’s highest subject rankings in 2017 include: public health (#3 in the world), dentistry and oral sciences (#3), biological sciences (#5), and biomedical engineering (#5).

More information about the UW’s past rankings in the ARWU is available here.

OPB Briefs: 2017 Legislative Session Bill and Fiscal Note Summaries Now Available

Posted under OPB News and Announcements, State Legislature by Jed Bradley 

OPB has posted two summaries concerning the 2017 legislative session to the Briefs tab of our website:

The 2017 Bill Summary lists the bills OPB tracked during session that were passed by the legislature. Links to veto messages are provided for bills that were vetoed or partially vetoed by the Governor. OPB tracked over 460 bills in the 2017 legislative session, 69 of which passed into law.

The 2017 Fiscal Note Summary lists the fiscal notes—evaluations of the fiscal impact of a bill proposal—that OPB completed on behalf of the UW (with the help of subject matter experts across the University) during the 2017 session. All fiscal notes are requested by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Olympia to guide legislative decision-making. This session, OPB completed 111 fiscal notes.

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