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OPB Briefs: 2017 Legislative Session Bill and Fiscal Note Summaries Now Available

OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction - Wed, 2017-08-09 15:23

OPB Briefs: 2017 Legislative Session Bill and Fiscal Note Summaries Now Available

OPB has posted two summaries concerning the 2017 legislative session to the Briefs tab of our website:

The 2017 Bill Summary lists the bills OPB tracked during session that were passed by the legislature. Links to veto messages are provided for bills that were vetoed or partially vetoed by the Governor. OPB tracked over 460 bills in the 2017 legislative session, 69 of which passed into law.

The 2017 Fiscal Note Summary lists the fiscal notes—evaluations of the fiscal impact of a bill proposal—that OPB completed on behalf of the UW (with the help of subject matter experts across the University) during the 2017 session. All fiscal notes are requested by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Olympia to guide legislative decision-making. This session, OPB completed 111 fiscal notes.

The Princeton Review 2018 Best Colleges

OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction - Fri, 2017-08-04 13:56

The Princeton Review 2018 Best Colleges

The Princeton Review has released its Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition, with the University of Washington earning a spot among the top 382, including ranking highly on both the Top Schools for Entrepreneurship:  Undergraduate (#11) and The Top 50 Green Colleges (#10). The UW also appears on two unranked lists: Colleges that Pay You Back (one of 209 listed) and the Best Western Colleges (one of 127 listed).

The methodology to produce the Top Green Colleges ratings and rankings includes a combination of school-reported data and student opinion survey questions measuring a school’s performance on environment and sustainability. This year, the UW earned a Green Rating of 99/99 (based on administrators’ responses and data provided) and a Top 50 Green College Ranking of #10 (by student survey responses).

Similarly, the UW’s #11 ranking on the “Top Schools for Entrepreneurship: Undergraduate” list comes from survey responses regarding college entrepreneurship offerings. These surveys include questions on entrepreneurship programs and degrees; student and faculty participation in entrepreneurship; alumni ventures; competitions; and scholarships and aid. Seattle’s Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, Startup UW (a student club dedicated to entrepreneurship), and CoMotion likely contribute to the high marks in this category.

In addition, the University of Washington was recognized by The Princeton Review on their lists of Best Western Colleges (a regional list of institutions), and Colleges that Pay You Back. Colleges That Pay You Back is a list of the top colleges based on a combination of academic strength, affordability and graduates’ career prospects.

The Princeton Review first published a list of The Top Colleges in 1992. Updated annually, The Princeton Review collects data on more than 2,000 institutions each year for analysis. Approximately 15% of the country’s 2,500 four-year institutions appear on the list. For more information, please visit The Princeton Review Best 382 Colleges.

2017 Legislative Session: OPB Brief on 2017-19 Compromise Operating and Capital Budgets

OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction - Wed, 2017-07-05 15:33

2017 Legislative Session: OPB Brief on 2017-19 Compromise Operating and Capital Budgets

Leadership in the House and Senate released a 2017-19 compromise state operating budget on June 30, 2017 in the form of Substitute Senate Bill 5883. The Governor signed the budget less than an hour before midnight, narrowly avoiding a partial state government shutdown. Lawmakers also passed a partial capital budget that reappropriates unspent capital funding from the 2015-17 biennium, which allows previously authorized projects to continue into the new biennium, but does not make new appropriations for 2017-19.

brief from the Office of Planning & Budgeting provides a detailed overview of the final compromise operating budget and partial capital budget. We expect that a compromise 2017-19 capital budget will be released within a couple weeks, and will update the brief at that time.

The final compromise operating budget represents a middle ground between budget proposals released by the Governor, House and Senate earlier this session. The budget maintains current tuition policy, allowing for a 2.2 percent resident undergraduate tuition increase in FY18. Lawmakers made significant investments to maintain and expand state programs, especially in K-12 education. As a reminder, this budget cycle largely focused on meeting the state’s K-12 funding obligations, due to the state Supreme Court’s ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington.

Investments directed at the UW include funding for employee compensation, medical education, STEM enrollments, and several research initiatives across academic disciplines. However, lawmakers also reduced the UW’s state funding and assumed an offsetting reduction in tuition waived for graduate students. They also instituted a new charge to state agencies for services provided by the Governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM), which will result in the UW having to use $3 million in student tuition revenue over the biennium to support OFM instead of the University’s academic mission.

 

Please contact Jed Bradley if you have any questions.

June Revenue Forecast Predicts Slight Growth

OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction - Tue, 2017-06-20 16:53

June Revenue Forecast Predicts Slight Growth

Earlier today, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its June revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $81 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $87 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. These increases are on top of the more significant increases projected in the March revenue forecast.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • $38.308 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 13.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium
  • $40.903 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 6.8 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $43.875 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 7.3 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast is similar to the March forecast, but with slightly higher revenue projections.
  • The forecast attributes these changes to slightly lower personal income growth but slightly higher residential building permits.
  • Similar to the March forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

This is the final revenue forecast before the end of the biennium. The legislature will soon enter the third special session of the year, and budget negotiators in the Senate and House will use this updated forecast of 2017-19 revenues as a baseline for their final budget compromise.

If state lawmakers are unable to pass an operating budget by June 30, the state government will enter a shutdown. The University of Washington is preparing for this possibility and has been in touch with the Governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) regarding contingency planning and possible implications for university operations. All agency contingency plans, including the UW’s, are available on the OFM website here.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the final budget compromise when that is available.

 

Two New OPB Briefs: Resident Undergraduate Tuition Trends and Net Price

OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction - Wed, 2017-06-07 11:59

Two New OPB Briefs: Resident Undergraduate Tuition Trends and Net Price

OPB has released two new briefs.

The first brief focuses on trends in Resident Undergraduate (RUG) tuition rates and state funding environments across the United States, based on the most recent “Trends in College Pricing” report, which is released by the College Board each year. The report identifies Washington as the only state to have lower RUG tuition and fee rates than it did five years ago.

The report serves as a basis for a deep dive into the funding environments of some other case studies. The brief looks at Louisiana, Florida and Ohio as comparisons to Washington, as they are the three other states whose legislatures retain RUG tuition setting authority. Despite this fact, each state has had a variety of outcomes regarding tuition policy. California and Maine are also highlighted as case study comparisons because they are the only two other states to show a decrease in tuition over the past five years, though theirs are due to inflation-adjusted tuition freezes.

The second brief is an updated version of previous “Published Price vs. Net Price” briefs, which reflects the newest available data. The brief includes sector-wide data on increases in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges, a description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred tuition increases, and a table comparing the UW’s net price net price for resident undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid to its U.S. News & World Report top 25 research university peers.

Finally, it is with subdued excited that to announce that these two briefs and blog post will be my last contribution to OPB as an intern. I am graduating tomorrow from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, while taking a job down at the State Capitol in Olympia. Thanks to all for reading!

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