About the Episode

About the Episode

As lawmakers try to balance a $5 billion deficit, higher education will take a major hit, leading to tuition increases, larger classes, staff layoffs, and a reduction in scholarships for low-income students. In this episode of "Connects," we talk with students, alumni, and school presidents to better understand the real impacts of these budget cuts and what they may mean for the future of higher education.

Chapter 1: The Higher Education Budget Battle

Chapter 2: Higher Education Funding Task Force

Chapter 3: University of Washington's Alumni Association Launches "UW Impact" Initiative

Chapter 4: Giving State Schools Tuition-Setting Authority

Chapter 5: Insiders Roundtable Discussion - April 8, 2011

Watch Full Episode

Producer's Notes

Producer's Notes

New Lows for Higher Ed

Here’s a simple question for you. Do you want your kids to succeed and have a good paying job when they grow up? If your answer is yes, then I have one piece of advice: Make sure they go to college.

I suck at math, but the numbers on this are pretty stark and simple. The average salary of a person with just a high school diploma is about $32,000 a year. Get a bachelor’s degree, and it jumps to $52,000. The unemployment rate right now for someone with just a high school diploma is 9.5%. For someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher, it’s only 4.4%.

Bottom line: Get a college degree and you’ll make more money and face a much smaller chance of being unemployed.

Unfortunately, getting that degree is about to get tougher for a lot of people in our state because of proposed budget cuts to higher education. Nothing’s final yet, but House Democrats this week proposed a budget that would cut $482 million to higher education institutions. Those cuts include suspending or in some cases eliminating scholarships, grants and work-study programs for low-income students, while state schools would be allowed to increase tuition to offset the cuts.

Bottom line: there will be less financial help for struggling students while the cost of going to college will go up.

Unfortunately, the state is facing a $5 billion dollar budget deficit, and the money has to come from somewhere. Higher education isn’t being unfairly targeted. It’s just one of the many victims. The House budget proposal calls for cuts to Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, and other social programs as well.

But cutting funding to higher education is a bitter pill to swallow, because higher ed is such a profound investment in the future. It’s a little like raiding your retirement account to pay your credit card balance. You solve one problem now, but won’t realize the trade-off until later.

So in this episode of “Connects,” we’re looking at the harsh reality that our state’s colleges and universities face. We’ll be talking with students, alumni and most of the school presidents – to see how schools are going to deal with the budget cuts now, and explore the future of higher education in the “new normal” of tough financial times.

Ethan Morris, Senior Producer

Higher Education Cuts - April 8, 2011


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According to the comment of juandos, I want to say that yes, there is a proof behind that statement. Higher education is always like an asset. when you know about the useless subject, why do you choose this?

However, I think Higher education is certainly useful for the better income plan and the topics will be useful for the students.


I would like to congratulate the Washington State Legislature on its remarkable foresight with regard to higher education. Almost exactly one year ago, it established the state’s only nonprofit, self-supporting (through tuition), all-online competency-based institution in partnership with Western Governors University. Our lawmakers sought to expand access to higher education for Washington residents, and that's exactly what has happened: the student body, with an average age of 37, has grown 196% in its first year of operation to more than 2600 students. These are people who, for the most party, would not have had access to an education because they worked full time, were place-bound, or couldn't afford it.

The university’s four colleges, Business, Information Technology, Teachers College, and Health Professions (including Nursing), offer more than 50 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in high-demand career fields, many with industry-specific certifications.

WGU Washington is affiliated with Western Governors University (WGU), which was founded in 1997 by 19 governors (in the Western Governors Association), including Washington Gov. Mike Lowry, to expand access to higher education without adding to each state‘s financial burden and to address the need for a better-educated workforce by making it easier for working adults to start and finish degrees. Here are the reasons:
• A 2010 study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce projects that, between 2008 and 2018, 677,000 jobs requiring postsecondary credentials will open in Washington, either through creation of new jobs or through retirements. This compares with 257,000 jobs for high school graduates and 94,000 jobs for high school dropouts.

WGU has a great deal of student and employer support:

A 2011 Harris Interactive study found the following: 1). 98% of employers agreed that WGU grads meet or exceed their expectations, 2). 100% would not hesitate to hire another graduate, 3). 97% rate the job performance of WGU grads as “good” or “excellent, 4). 98% rate WGU grads as equal to or better than graduates of other universities; 5). 98% consider WGU graduates strong prepared for their jobs.

A WGU/ Lighthouse Research survey determined the following about our graduates: 1). 94% say they would choose WGU again, 2). 96% say they would recommend WGU to others, 3). 65% say that the competencies learned at WGU were directly related to their current work.


I think juadros has a point there. There should be proper and visible liquidation when talking about school funds (or any organization for that matter). Learned this while forex broker reviews.


"But cutting funding to higher education is a bitter pill to swallow, because higher ed is such a profound investment in the future"...

There's absolutely no proof behind that statement...

How many people graduate college with something useful and how many just mark time and graduate with something useless like an art history degree?

The other question this little dog and pony show doesn't tackle is, "are school funds being used properly and not just wasted on questionable courses and questionable tenures?"...

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