Contact: Paul Cocke, University Communications, (360) 650-3350
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University, in response to continuing state budget reductions in the current 2010-11 fiscal year, is being forced to cut funding to well-known and high-quality WWU programs.
Western released details Monday of additional proposed cuts intended to make the necessary reductions while also protecting Western’s core academic mission.
Prior reductions in state support total more than $50 million to Western this biennium (2009-2011). That is a 34 percent reduction in state support. Recently, the state has directed that Western’s budget be further reduced by an additional $3.05 million. That is another 6.3 percent.
“To this point, we have been able to largely protect programs of high quality and that help establish Western as a premier university. We are now at a point where the only way to protect the high quality of the programs that remain is to make serious cuts to programs that are also high-quality,” said WWU President Bruce Shepard.
For example, within Academic Affairs, reductions were the smallest in percentage terms across campus but, nevertheless include such proposed steps as:
- Reducing funding for the internationally acclaimed Border Policy Research Institute and Canadian American Studies program.
- Suspending admissions to the well-regarded Student Affairs Administration graduate program. This step is in addition to the previously announced 14 low-enrollment programs being recommended for elimination.
Also, as leases run out over the next year, about $500,000 will be saved by moving units from leased spaces off-campus to buildings the university owns. The savings from leases will be added back to the Academic Affairs budget, as those savings are realized, in order to support plans to start hiring tenure-track faculty again, which has been on hold as a temporary money-saving measure. Western’s long-term academic excellence is sustained by a high number of tenure-track faculty.
The more detailed explanation of proposed budget cuts is now available at Proposals for Further Reductions. Those include previously announced cuts, such as: the elimination of the 14 low-enrollment academic programs; further restricting admissions to winter and spring quarters (the magnitude of the restrictions depending upon careful analysis of fall term student retention rates, class availability, and student mix); and reducing the award of new tuition waivers for winter and spring quarters by $250,000. Tuition waivers are a form of financial aid. Current students with such awards are not affected.
In the face of severe state budget cuts, Western is striving to protect its academic excellence and academic core. Western is in ever higher demand. Receiving 10,000 applications for 2,700 openings, that demand has been disproportionately in the areas of high-tech and science-based preparation. Western recently cut substantially more than the required $50 million and reallocated the difference to eliminate course bottlenecks, largely located in these burgeoning but more costly areas. That commitment to students to get the classes they need in order to graduate in a timely fashion will be sustained even as further cuts are now necessary.