Preview: UW’s 2024 legislative priorities (2024)

The 2024 legislative session begins on Monday, Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run for 60 consecutive days. During this short-session, state lawmakers will negotiate modest adjustments to the state’s biennial operating, capital, and transportation budgets.

The University of Washington appreciates the recent investments the legislature has made to support higher education and the UW Medicine health system. State support remains essential to the UW’s long-term viability and pursuit of providing an excellent and accessible education for all Washington students, improving the health and sustainability of underserved communities, and promoting a prosperous economy.

The UW’s supplemental budget requests are limited to our top priorities in service to our students, faculty and staff, patients, and the state. The formal 2024 legislative agenda will be published in December. In the meantime, here is a preview of the UW’s priorities for the upcoming session:

Operating budget

UW School of Dentistry RIDE program expansion: $2.5M in fiscal year 2025 (ongoing)
Located in Spokane, the nationally renowned Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program has proven successful in training dentists to meet the needs of our state’s rural and underserved populations. RIDE’s innovative training model immerses students in community-based clinics to gain valuable field experience while also providing high quality dental care to communities with access-to-care challenges. In the classroom, RIDE is colocated with Eastern Washington University’s dental hygiene program to maximize resources and enhance training. Requested funds will enhance the RIDE program by doubling the number of students trained from 32 to 64 and by adding a second year of curriculum based in Spokane. The UW has already secured $1.5M in federal funds for dental simulation equipment and will attract additional research funding to Spokane with this expansion.

Permanent funding for the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering Startup Program: $330,000 in FY25 ($455,000 ongoing)
The UW continues to see unprecedented demand from students and employers for UW computer science degrees. The one-year cohort-based Startup Program provides holistic supports and prepares students with high potential and academic need to succeed in the CSE B.S. program. The program serves students who are first generation, low income and/or did not have access to advanced high school classes to assist in developing fundamental skills necessary for the rigor of the Allen School and the computing field. The state provided $455,000 in FY23 and one-time funding of $125,000 per year for the current biennium. This request bridges the gap in FY25 and makes the funding permanent.

UW Medicine safety net and medical training support
Serving the medical and behavioral health needs of Washington’s residents, especially those who are most vulnerable, and training the next generation of health care providers is necessary for the vitality of our state. Funding for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center will further support their critical and impactful safety net care and medical training missions. UW Medicine received one-time funding for FY23 and FY24 and is making progress in addressing challenges including reimbursem*nt rates and difficult-to-discharge patients. UW Medicine needs additional state support for FY25 to address increasing labor costs and prevent harmful service reductions.

Capital Budget

Design funding for the modernization of Chemical Sciences and Bagley Hall: $5M
Chemistry is a core program at the UW and is required for students in most STEM and health sciences fields. Built in 1937 and 1957, the current facilities are overwhelmed by student demand and program constraints and do not meet the requirements for interdisciplinary, modern science education and research. Updating our facilities will help meet course demand and increase degree production as well as attract and retain world-class faculty conducting leading edge research.

Campus decarbonization projects: $48.9M (Climate Commitment Account)
The UW has identified six projects that support foundational energy renewal and decarbonization efforts across all three campuses (Seattle, Bothell, Tacoma) and UW Medical Center facilities. The projects include: UW Seattle centralized chilled water capacity improvements, Clean Energy Institute tenant improvements and research-related needs, UW Bothell Central Plant improvements and gas boiler replacements, UW Tacoma gas boiler replacement, UWMC NW Campus Central Utility Plant planning, and UWMC Montlake Campus HVAC systems renewal. More information about the UW’s decarbonization strategy and plans can be found at UW Sustainability | Energy Transformation.

For questions, please contact Joe Dacca, Director of State Relations, at daccaj@uw.edu or Morgan Hickel, Associate Director of State Relations, at mhickel@uw.edu.

Preview: UW’s 2024 legislative priorities (2024)
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