WSU proposes 16% tuition increase next year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSU proposes 16% tuition increase next year

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Washington State University is expected to increase tuition 16 percent for in-state undergraduate students for the 2011-12 academic year.

Floyd said the increase is necessary to protect programs and prevent even deeper cuts to the university's budget.

"Unfortunately, to maintain our programs in the face of these budget cuts, we do not have any other option," he said.

The state budget, which the Legislature passed and now awaits the governor's signature, reduces WSU's state appropriation by about $108 million over the 2011-13 biennium. That was a 26 percent reduction in WSU's current budget and means that over four years the university will have experienced a 52 percent drop in state funding.

When state lawmakers announced their budget deal Tuesday, they recommended an annual tuition increase of 16 percent for WSU and some other universities to make up for the reduced funding. But that's only half the story. Legislators also approved a historic bill that will let the state's six, four-year colleges and universities set their own tuition.

The University of Washington Board of Regents will begin its discussion about next year's tuition in a few weeks, said Randy Hodgins, UW vice president of external affairs.

Steve Swan, vice president for university relations at Western Washington University, said Western's Board of Trustees likely will make a tuition decision during its meeting June 9-10.

The tuition-setting bill gives the six state schools tuition setting authority through 2018-19. In return, they must increase financial aid, make a plan to improve graduation rates, keep in-state student enrollment steady, and cooperate with community colleges on transfer credits.