UW President Mark Emmert was in today, and I’ve never seen him so close to anger.
He’s royally upset by the budgets proposed this week by the state Senate and House of Representatives. They would devastate higher education in Washington, reducing enrollments by at least 10,000 seats.
Emmert wasn’t demanding a bigger share of the state budget; he did push for the authority to raise tuition by 14 percent. For middle-income families, this would be more than offset by expanded federal financial aid now in the pipeline. Low income families are already effectively exempt from tuition under the Husky Promise program.
Some highlights of the visit:
&bull “More students want to go to college than at any time in our history.”
&bull Washington is more dependent on engineers, scientists and other tech specialists than any other state, “and we’re the state that has beat the hell out of higher education.”
&bull “We’ve over-relied on important our best-educated workers – but it’s at the expense of our own citizens.”
&bull Washington beats all other states in the percentage -– 72 percent – of college graduates who continue to live in the state of their alma mater. That means Washington gets more economic benefit from its investment in higher ed.
&bull Emmert himself is an example of the benefits of college. “I grew up in Fife in a working class family. I’m sitting here as president of a university for only one reason: I got a great education.”