Trustees approve 2013-14 operating budget; 2013-15 capital budget

Western Today staff

Includes zero tuition increase for resident undergraduate students for 2013-14 and increased funding for computer science and engineering to respond to critical state needs

The Western Washington University Board of Trustees today approved Western’s 2013-14 operating budget, which includes zero tuition increase for resident undergraduate students during 2013-14. The budget also reflects increased funding appropriated by the Legislature to Western for the high-demand fields of computer science and engineering.

The 2013-14 operating budget totals $145.489 million; it reflects increased funding to Western by the Legislature, following years of state budget cuts to Western and other public universities due to the economic downturn.

The trustees also passed a resolution recognizing the Legislature for passing a state budget “that represents a return to Washington’s proud history of prioritizing higher education…”

Peggy Zoro, chair of the Board of Trustees, said that “It is important to thank and recognize the visionary leadership of the Legislature for reinvesting in higher education in this state, which directly benefits many students and families. This increased funding to Western also is an important investment in the future economic growth of our state.”

For more information on the 2013-14 operating budget, please see this document.

A few operating budget highlights:

  • Tuition for resident (in-state) undergraduate students at Western will remain the same during 2013-14 as during 2012-13, or $7,503 annually, expanding access to higher education. Approximately 88 percent of Western’s students are resident undergraduates.
  • Tuition for non-resident undergraduate, resident graduate, non-resident graduate and MBA students will increase 3 percent for 2013-14.
  • New institutional investment of $10.5 million that will be used to meet STEM/High Demand Enrollment Shifts, support new degree opportunities for students in Energy Studies, support new internship opportunities for students, provide more advising support and other much needed investments in students and their academic progress.
  • Reflects nearly $3 million for expansion of Western computer science and engineering, as Western responds to emerging and critical state needs for more graduates in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Western will transition Engineering Technology to fully accredited engineering, allowing Western to produce 108 ABET-accredited engineers per year. With new investment in computer science, Western will be able to increase the number of computer science graduates each year.

The trustees also approved Western’s 2013-2015 Capital Budget totaling $29,936,000, which includes $7,547,000 in reappropriations and $22,389,000 in new appropriations. Capital projects will include: $4,746,000 in classroom and lab upgrades so that Western can continue to offer state-of-the-art teaching facilities and improve utilization and capacities; $2,947,000 to upgrade seriously degraded exterior cladding and roofing systems on the Performing Arts Center; $3,582,000 North Campus Utility Upgrade; and $7,500,000 million in Preservation Minor Works Projects that will address some badly needed preservation projects throughout the campus during the 2013-15 biennium.

Western has both an operating budget – which keeps the university going on a day-to-day basis, paying salaries, utilities, supplies, etc. – and a capital budget, which is used for building projects such as renovation or new construction of campus buildings. The money for these comes from two different funding sources: operating money comes from state operating appropriations and tuition; the capital budget is primarily financed by long term state-issued bonds, a financing mechanism similar to a home mortgage. The state does not allow capital appropriations to be used for operating expenses.