OPBlog: Higher Ed Junction
A new brief from the Office of Planning & Budgeting provides an overview of Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) distribution principles and trends at the UW in Seattle. This brief updates last year’s overview of ABB trends, adding the most recent year’s data. It compares the ABB budgets of Seattle academic units to those of Seattle administrative units over the last six years (FY12-FY17).
OPB’s Institutional Analysis team and UW-IT’s Enterprise Information, Integration & Analytics unit announce seven new peer finance dashboards, available now in UW Profiles. These new dashboards join four existing peer dashboards. Peer dashboards use data publicly available through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEPDS) to allow users to compare the UW to peer institutions around the country on a range of student- and finance-focused measures.
With the new finance dashboards, users can compare revenues, expenses, and endowment values at the UW and peer institutions. They can also explore the relative importance of different revenue sources and expense categories across institutions. The expenses story dashboard provides a step-by-step look at the expenses that directly or indirectly support universities’ research and instruction missions.
More information about each of the new peer finance dashboards is available through the online documentation. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy in its second consideration of a Fisher v. University of Texas appeal. As a reminder, the case stemmed from a lawsuit by Abigail Fisher, a white applicant to UT Austin who claimed she was unfairly rejected due to the university’s affirmative action admissions program. Since our last update, when the Supreme Court ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reconsider the case, the appellate court affirmed their decision in favor of UT, and Fisher again appealed that court’s decision to the Supreme Court. For additional background on this case, please see our previous two posts, found here and here.
The case was decided by an unusual 4-3 margin due to Justice Kagan’s recusal and the recent death of Justice Scalia. According to the NY Times, Justice Kennedy, who had never before voted to uphold an affirmative action plan, wrote for the majority that “…it remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”
This decision marks the end of the Fisher case, but the debate over affirmative action in higher education carries on.
Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates.
Last week, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its June revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $294 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $126 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. This is an improvement over the February forecast, which had predicted slower revenue growth in both biennia (see our blog post here). As a reminder, there will be at least three more revenue forecasts between now and when the legislature sets the 2017-19 budget.
Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennia:
- $37.431 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 11.2 percent more than 2013-15.
- $40.252 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 7.5 percent more than 2015-17.
- $43.575 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 8.3 percent more than 2017-19.
Behind the numbers:
- The forecast attributed the increase to strong sales of large commercial properties and rising home prices.
- Other positives included growth in housing permits and increases in inflation, which typically result in greater retail sales, business taxes, and property taxes.
- Slight decreases in U.S. and Washington state personal income forecasts continue to have a negative effect on the revenue forecast.
According to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, “With the latest forecast, the state is now projected to have nearly $1.5 billion in total reserves at the end of the current biennium and more than $1.4 billion at the end of the 2017–19 biennium. Those reserve figures, however, do not take into account the multibillion obligation the state faces in the next biennium to meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.”
As a result, state agencies, including the UW, have received instructions to severely limit requests for new programs or policy initiatives in their requests for state funding in the 2017-19 biennium.
Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts.
The estimated annual cost of attendance for first-year UW undergraduates is now available for the 2016-17 academic year. Cost of attendance shows estimated expenses by campus for:
- Student fees
- Room & board
- Books, personal, & transportation
Cost of attendance (COA) is defined by the Higher Education Act. It is a statutory term that typically refers to the estimated cost for a full-time student to attend an institution of higher education for a standard nine-month academic year.
After accounting for grant and scholarship aid, UW students (particularly resident undergraduates) often pay far less than the estimated COA. In 2014-15 (the most recent year for which net price data is available), the published price for resident undergraduates at Seattle was $27,112, whereas the net price for first-time, resident undergraduates at Seattle was $9,744.
We will annually update the COA information on our website.
OPB has posted a report on higher education trends from the past year to the Briefs tab of our website.
Based on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Trends Report, the brief summarizes the ten trends outlined by The Chronicle and highlights relevant examples from Washington state. The brief also outlines a selection of additional higher education trends which we have observed.
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