WWU Trustees Approve 2017-18 Operating Budget, Tuition Rates

BELLINGHAM – The Western Washington University Board of Trustees on Thursday approved Western’s 2017-18 annual operating budget, which includes a 2.2 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduate students during the upcoming academic year.

The state Legislature, as part of its 2017-2019 two-year biennial operating budget, authorized a 2.2 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition for the 2017-18 academic year at the state’s four-year public higher education institutions. The tuition increase, which will be reflected in fall tuition at Western, means an undergraduate student will pay $128 more a year. Resident undergraduate students made up about 88 percent of students at Western during the last academic year.

The increase follows an overall 20 percent reduction in resident undergraduate tuition at Western over the past two years. The state Legislature, as part of its 2015-2017 two-year biennial operating budget, mandated tuition reductions for state-funded resident undergraduates at public universities, which at Western was phased in with the 5 percent tuition reduction for the 2015-2016 academic year followed by the additional 15 percent reduction during the 2016-17 academic year.

For the 2017-18 academic year, tuition rates also will increase 3.5 percent for non-resident undergraduates, resident graduate, non-resident graduate and MBA students.

Even with the increases Western tuition rates in all categories still remain lower than most other public universities in the state.

Western’s 2017-18 state operating budget totals approximately $168. 8 million. Some highlights include:

  • Funding to enhance programs and initiatives designed to improve student academic success and increase degree completion.
  • Funding to improve access in targeted areas, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
  • Funding and tuition rates for a clinical doctorate in Audiology – a new program and the first clinical doctorate offered at Western. The offering of this degree enables Western to meet rising demand for the degree and takes advantage of space, curricula and staff already in place. The Au.D. degree is offered by only six other universities in the contiguous western United States.
  • Funding to assist in providing competitive compensation for university employees, a top priority to maintain Western’s excellence. Compensation for faculty and classified employees is determined via union contracts with the university.  Western’s professional staff compensation program – a market-based equity program designed to align positions to the local and regional market while maintaining internal equity – is administered by WWU Human Resources in conjunction with the Professional Staff Organization’s Salary and Benefits Committee and Western’s vice presidents.