As I reported to you last week, the legislature's 2014 supplemental operating budget (ESHB 6002) does not include funding CWU requested in order to avoid a tuition increase. At the same time the budget includes language that freezes tuition rates for the 2014-2015 at the level set in 2012-2013.
The Board of Trustees met late yesterday to consider how to protect the integrity and the quality of our university in the face of these restrictions. As I have discussed with all of you, simply holding steady requires an ever-increasing level of financial support, since the price for all aspects of our work--labor, materials, technology--increases whether our state budget does or not.
Yesterday I presented the board with four scenarios for confronting this difficult circumstance. The Board rejected two scenarios that would have involved reducing our workforce and eroding services. A third scenario involves increasing tuition before the budget bill is signed into law. The Board, however, embraced the fourth alternative and directed staff to investigate further.
The fourth scenario would reduce the tuition discount CWU allows for students who carry between 11 and 18 credits. Currently, only students taking ten credits or fewer pay full tuition, which has been $266 per credit since the 2012-2013 academic year. CWU discounts tuition for credit loads from 11 to 18 by charging them the amount equal to ten credits. The fourth scenario would charge students carrying up to 18 credits the amount equal to an 11-credit load. It's not a big change, but it would generate the support we need.
CWU staff and the assistant attorney general assigned to CWU are researching the feasibility of this approach and will advise the Board and the university of our findings as soon as possible. Thanks again for your hard work and the many ways you make CWU a wonderful place to live and learn.
James L. Gaudino