OLYMPIA -- Lawmakers proposed zero cuts to higher education in their budget proposal from the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released Tuesday.
Compared with the House budget proposed last week, which would cut $65 million to higher education and $10 million to the State Need Grant, the Senate proposal has higher education supporters hopeful.
Chris Mulick, director of state relations for Washington State University, said WSU would have taken a $9.3 million, or 3 percent, hit under the House proposal adding to a more than 50 percent reduction in state funding to WSU in the past four years.
Like the House budget proposal, the Senate proposal requires WSU and the University of Washington to put $3.8 million more into engineering programs. In the Senate proposal, lawmakers do not provide the additional funding, but they ask university administrators to redirect current funding to those programs.
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Administrators at WSU will use the earmarked funding to increase enrollment in engineering programs in other campuses, Mulick said, but not the Tri-Cities.