Late this afternoon the Board of Trustees met for a work session on the details surrounding the budget handed them by the state legislature. You know the facts and by now must be sick of hearing them. I know I am:
- two 14% tuition increases
- a 3% wage cut
- a CWU Retirement Fund cut
- increases in health care costs to employees.
The administration has proposed the board stick with the tuition increases assumed in the budget, even though trustees could opt for a higher rate, thanks to the passage of HB 1795.
Cabinet also recommended that the university hold all employees harmless from the wage cut. Why should CWU employees not take a cut imposed on other state employees, one trustee wanted to know? Fair question.
The answer is that our employment landscape is so complicated that it prevents the university from imposing a 3% cut across-the-board.
For example, if you negotiated a 4-year contract before the recession hit, you might well be protected from any cut. If you are a member of a union that negotiated a 3% contract last December, you are not as lucky. The result is you could take a wage cut and find yourself sitting next to someone who did not. That’s not good business–and it’s just not really fair.
Trustees wanted to know how a big tuition increase would position the university to compete with other institutions. Answer: WWU, WSU, and UW will increase tuition 16%. TESC and EWU will be closer to 11.5%
Trustees also were concerned with affordability for students. Good news: the budget requires universities to increase the amount of tuition set aside for aid from 3.5% of tuition revenue to 5%. That’s on top of the approximately $8 million in tuition waivers CWU already provides. Institutions that choose to increase tuition beyond the rate the legislature set (14% for us) have to set aside even more money for aid.
The trustees will sleep on this information (and a lot more, which you can see on line) and then they’ll have to make up their minds in the morning. Watch it on-line or read about it on the home page and here.