THE University of Washington’s fundraising prowess is something to behold, but it does not make up for the state Legislature’s failure in recent years to properly invest in higher education.
UW President Michael Young and Vice President for University Advancement Connie Kravas should be commended for their leadership in raising a record $336 million in 2013.
Though that money will help to maintain the university’s quality and role as a major economic engine in our region, it is not likely to lower tuition rates for students. Donors directed their money to specific causes, such as the law school and medical research.
Meanwhile, college costs have skyrocketed in recent years as the state faced budget shortfalls. Last year, lawmakers temporarily froze tuition rates. Students welcomed the relief, but it does not guarantee members of the state’s future workforce will continue to be able to afford the education they need to compete in a global economy.
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The Washington state Legislature must set its sights ahead to 2015 and the next biennial budget-setting process.
Lawmakers should marvel at the University of Washington’s creativity and ability to shatter fundraising goals in hard times, and match those efforts by investing more state funds into higher education.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).