More degrees needed, UW is prepared
The University of Washington's plan to expand enrollment across its three campuses is ambitious to be sure — about 16 percent over...
The University of Washington's plan to expand enrollment across its three campuses is ambitious to be sure — about 16 percent over the next 10 years. But it is a reasonable effort to help meet the state's need for more college degrees, especially in high-demand fields such as science and engineering.
What the plan is not is an effort to deep-six the UW's proposed fourth campus in Snohomish County. After all, you can't plan for a campus you don't have. If anything, the fate of the Snohomish campus is foundering because of quibbling in the county over just where such a campus should be. With only six months to go before the new legislative session — and opportunity for funding — begins, a community consensus still has not emerged. Time is wasting.
The long-term planning needs of the state's higher-education system cannot wait. The UW has done everything within its power to prepare for the Snohomish campus.
Monday, UW President Mark Emmert will present the enrollment plan to the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board. Most of the new enrollment would be at its branch campuses in Tacoma and Bothell.
In its master plan, the HEC board called for, over the next decade, statewide increases in baccalaureate degrees by about half, to 42,400, and of graduate and professional degrees by 77 percent, to 19,800.
What's clear is that more degree-earning capacity is needed. For a state with such a high-tech bent, Washington's 36th rank among all states in bachelor's degree production per capita — and 43rd in graduate and professional degrees — is surprising. The result is many of the state's highly-educated workers are imported from elsewhere.
The University of Washington Foundation recently completed a $2.68 billion fundraising campaign. It bolsters programs across the UW's many colleges, departments, research and instructional missions and helps fund scholarships for lower-income students.
The eight-year effort exceeded expectations by $680 million — another sign higher education, and specifically the UW, is a worthy investment.
The Legislature has recently increased support for higher education after several years of falling behind. That must continue.
With a state budget deficit looming, the case for increasing higher-education funding faces a high hurdle. But the UW, its sister institutions and the HEC Board have a good case to make about the state's long-term benefit from more investment in higher education.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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