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Strategic Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC)
Strategic Budget Advisory Committee

UW Gives Details of $73M in Budget Cuts

The University of Washington released details Wednesday of how it intends to slash its budget by $73 million over the next fiscal year.

By Nick Perry
Seattle Times Higher Education Reporter

April 30, 2009

The University of Washington released details Wednesday of how it intends to slash its budget by $73 million over the next fiscal year.

The cuts range from 9 percent in the College of Arts and Sciences to 16 percent in President Mark Emmert's office.

Sixty-day layoff notices for some staff members will likely go out today and Friday to remove those salaries from the books before the fiscal year begins in July. Emmert says about 600 to 800 positions will be eliminated through a combination of attrition and layoffs.

The reductions are in response to the state budget, approved by the Legislature last weekend, which cuts a total of about $500 million from higher education over the next two years.

The general approach to UW's budget was to cut administrative and support functions more deeply than academics, Emmert said. He said the differences in cuts to the various colleges came down to a calculation of instructional and research loads.

"We'll have a smaller number of class offerings in most, if not all, of the schools and colleges," Emmert said. "We'll probably have slower responsiveness in our administrative areas and academic support areas."

Emmert said the university will mothball some of its writing centers, which provide tutors to help students improve their writing skills. Also gone is a $4 million fund to provide computer and instructional equipment to any college that needs it.

The total cut represents the amount the university must save to balance its budget even after accounting for federal stimulus money and a 14 percent increase in tuition. The UW plans to soften the blow to some academic units by tapping $10 million in one-time money from a reserve fund.

Nearly half the reserve money will go to Arts and Sciences, a huge college that awards more than 70 percent of the UW's bachelor's degrees. But that still leaves the college facing $6 million in cuts, about 5 percent of its budget.

Dean Ana Mari Cauce said the bulk of the cuts will be achieved by not replacing faculty members who leave. The college already has lost about 20 faculty over the past year, she said, and she worries that state lawmakers have sent a negative message to those who remain.

"The problem here at this university is that we have faculty that other universities want," Cauce said. "We have world-class faculty, and that's who we are losing. We are beginning to see the brain drain open back up."

Cauce said the reserve money will allow the college to retain many of its teaching assistants, a big relief: "We have a very, very big responsibility to do right by the students, and, by golly, we are going to do that," she said.

The UW has said it will reduce the number of students by about 1,300, including more than 300 from this fall's incoming freshman class.

Nick Perry: 206-515-5639

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company




UW budget cuts

Academic units

  • 9 percent: Arts and Sciences ($10.5 million)
  • 9.5 percent: Business ($1.9 million), Engineering ($4 million), Medical Centers ($1.6 million), Medicine ($5.3 million), Public Health ($0.8 million), Vice President for Medical Affairs Office ($0.1 million)
  • 10 percent: Dentistry ($1.3 million), Nursing ($0.9 million), Pharmacy ($0.6 million)
  • 11 percent: Built Environments ($0.8 million), Education ($1 million), Environment ($0.1 million), Forest Resources ($0.7 million), Ocean and Fishery Sciences ($0.9 million), Social Work ($0.5 million), Undergraduate Academic Affairs ($0.7 million)
  • 12 percent: Educational Outreach ($0.2 million), Evans School of Public Affairs ($0.4 million), Information School ($0.5 million), Law ($1.6 million)
  • 14 percent: Graduate School ($0.9 million)

Administrative units

  • 8 percent: Research ($0.8 million)
  • 10 percent: UW Technology ($2.6 million)
  • 11 percent: University Advancement ($0.5 million)
  • 12 percent: Libraries ($3.7 million), Student Life ($2 million), Minority Affairs ($0.6 million)
  • 15 percent: Health Sciences Administration ($1.6 million), Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer ($0.1 million)
  • 16 percent: Attorney General ($0.1 million), External Affairs ($0.8 million), Human Resources ($1.3 million), Planning and Budgeting ($0.5 million), President's Office ($0.4 million), Provost's Office ($0.9 million), UW Technology Office of Information Management ($2.6 million), UW Finance and Facilities ($7.7 million)

Branch campuses

  • 9.8 percent: UW Bothell ($3.1 million)
  • 10.1 percent: UW Tacoma ($4 million)

Other cuts

  • Instruction equipment fund: ($4 million)
  • Other: ($0.6 million)

Note: The effective cuts to some academic units are less than stated, due to the one-time allocation of about $10 million in reserve funds
Source: University of Washington