By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

News: ASCWU-BOD supports ending tuition freeze


Central’s student government opted for moderate tuition increases on an annual basis over either a large increase in tuition or cuts in programs and staff for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Associated Students of Central Washington University Board of Directors (ASCWU-BOD) is Central’s main student government organization that serves as liaison between the student body and Central’s administration.

“CWU requested an additional $5 million in state funds. Going into this legislative session, the administration made it clear that if requested funds were not appropriated by the legislature we would be looking at a modest tuition increase for the 2014-2015 academic year,” ASCWU-BOD President Bryan Elliot and Executive Vice President Jacob Wittman said in a letter.

Cassie DuBore, vice president of legislative affairs, said Central’s Board of Trustees (BOT) wants to raise tuition a lot more than the students would like.

DuBore said the BOD voted to oppose a tuition freeze; however, the BOD does not want the tuition to be raised the full 11 percent all at once. The BOD would rather have a moderate tuition increase of 5 or 6 percent over two years.

“$900, $1000 . . . that’s a lot of money, and that’s enough where some students may not come back,” DuBore said.

Bryan Elliott, ASCWU-BOD president, said in addition to Central not receiving $5 million from the state, the state legislature will pass a law that prohibits state colleges to raise tuition, which would force Central’s administration to cut programs and staff.

Elliot said the BOT wants to quickly raise tuition before the law is passed to avoid cutting programs and staff; programs with low enrollments and high costs would be cut first.

According to Jesse Nelson, associate dean of student success, the cost of academic programs are determined by higher costs per class or per instructor relative to others. Costs are higher with classes that contain labs as well.

Nelson said the business programs where the instructors tend to have higher salaries have higher costs than the arts and humanities.

Elliot said that despite the BOD voting to oppose tuition freeze, they want to avoid cutting programs altogether, so they are carefully negotiating with Central’s administration for a deal.

“BOD feels strongly about keeping academic programs,” DuBore said.

However, Elliot and DuBore said the Washington Student Association (WSA), which the ASCWU-BOD is a part of, endorsed the legislature’s tuition freeze.

Dubore said according to the WSA, the best way to make college affordable is by not raising tuition.

Elliot said the BOD is meeting with the administration officials March 10 and 13 to advocate for moderate tuition increases over the long run.

Elliot said that Central only receives approximately 16 percent of funds from the state, which is mostly allocated to Central’s operating budget. Some companies in the renewable energy industry receive approximately the same amount of dollars in terms of state subsidies. This means the other 84 percent of funds come from students.

Although Central fits the legal definition of a public university, Elliot claims the ratio of state funds to student tuition has made Central a private university subsidized by the state, rather than a public university.

Elliot said when the BOD attended the last BOT meeting, the BOT was looking at entrepreneurial business models.

According to Elliot, Central’s administration has increasingly relied on business-oriented models because state funding has decreased over time.

Some students were asked whether or not they would rather pay more in tuition and fees or see cuts in program funding.

“Raising tuition because we need more programs,” Cole Ziegler, a junior theatre generalist major, said.

Alex Martinez, an undeclared freshman, agreed with Ziegler that raising tuition would be better than cutting programs.

“I don’t know where I stand on it,” Gage Miller, a junior nutrition and diatetics major, said.

According to both Elliot and DuBore, Central’s building and construction will not be effected.

State funds for constructing new buildings come from the state’s capital budget, which is a separate fund from grants and operating dollars.

Additionally, DuBore said the lack of an extra $5 million in state funds does not effect $5 million allocated by the Dream Act. The Dream Act allows undocumented students to have access to the State Need Grant.

Dream Act funds are not affected, because that bill has been passed and signed by Governor Jay Inslee.

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