Senate communications

April 12, 2018

Report of the Faculty Legislative Representative

JoAnn Taricani, Associate Professor, Music History

The top priorities of our Faculty Senate this biennium were: (1) faculty compensation and (2) student financial aid and access. On these two points, we have made some progress in the supplemental budget.

The supplemental budget adds $9 million for faculty and professional staff salaries, as one-time funding. The original passed budget for 2017-19 did not have enough funding for faculty salary increases in the second year, plus funded raises at the UW at a lower level than the other four-year institutions. I have described this in reports since last December. This $9 million, even as one-time funding, was very difficult to get into the budget, and I have to credit President Cauce for coming to Olympia many times, but particularly in the final hours before the draft supplemental budgets were released. We had heard this $9 million would not be in the House and Senate proposed supplemental budgets, and she made a very strong case for the necessity of it. Shortly after her visit, we heard the funding was added.

The final supplemental budget also adds $18.5 million statewide for the State Need Grant, a commitment to state students in mid-to-low income brackets. The Senate had proposed $9 million for this, and the House $25 million, so this is a compromise number. It should fund around 4,000 more students in the state. We currently cover the financial aid of students eligible for the State Need Grant via the UW Husky Promise, so any funding coming to the UW on this front will be very helpful in covering those costs. There is also a plan to cover the gap with more increased funding over the next four years; currently, around 20,000 eligible students statewide are not funded. The Allen School has received $3 million per year for increased enrollments in computer science and engineering, a priority of the state and external partners as well as the university; this will allow an increase in the annual number of graduates in that field.

There are several bills that passed that affect financial aid; one scholarship program is of particular interest to students in the health professions (broadly defined, to benefit more fields) who are willing to commit to working in rural areas in the state after graduation. Here is the link to the final bill language, for those who want to understand the details better: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2143-S2.PL.pdf.

Unfortunately, the faculty regent bill did not pass, although the votes were in place at one point.

Final budget bill, full language: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2018/coBill_0307.pdf

To prepare for the next legislative session, which will be a full budget session, the Faculty Senate will receive a survey to help establish our priorities; the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting will be discussing the priorities this spring. The UW budget request is sent to the Office of Financial Management in September, and that begins the process of the 2019-21 budget cycle.