State budget cuts are making it tougher than ever for Washington residents to get into the University of Washington.
University officials say they’ve had to cut the number of in-state students they admit to the Seattle campus this fall. Meanwhile, they’re letting in more out-of-state and international students who pay nearly three times as much in tuition and fees.
“When the decision was made, it was not a happy one,” UW admissions director Philip Ballinger told The Seattle Times.
“For us to be in a position where we have to cut back enrollment in Washington here, and take more students from out of state – that is an ugly conversation.”
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However, if the school didn’t admit more nonresident students, he said, it would have to cut the number of in-state students even further. Nonresident students subsidize resident students, Ballinger added.
The UW could be facing a $200 million budget cut over the next biennium. And gloomy revenue forecasts and a $5 billion state budget shortfall made it likely that the Legislature will again slash funding for higher education.
But not all Washington universities are reducing their freshman class.
Washington State University expects to enroll 400 more in-state freshm en this fall than it did last year, an increase of about 13 percent, said John Fraire, vice president of enrollment management.
“Even in light of the crisis, we’ve made a commitment to grow instead of shrink,” he said.
Western Washington University and Central Washington University both expect to enroll fewer freshmen this year, the newspaper reported. Fewer students have applied to WWU this year, perhaps because the school scaled back recruitment efforts to save money. CWU plans to recruit more out-of-state students next year.
Ballinger said if the UW admitted the same number of in-state students while absorbing the budget cutbacks, it would hurt the school’s quality.
The UW expects about 3,850 in-state students to eventually enroll this fall, or about 70 percent of the freshman class, compared with 73 percent last year.
“There are a number of families who are distraught about this,” Linda Jacobs, a private college counselor, told the Times. “They thought they were a shoo-in.”
The UW did a good job trying to tell families that admission was going to be much, much harder this year, said Dave Quinn, an International Baccalaureate program instructor at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
Some students who didn’t get in had taken tough college-level courses and had a high GPA and hours of community service, Quinn said. They would have been natural candidates for admission in any other year.
High school valedictorian Brandon Stover was shocked to learn he didn’t get into the UW.
Stover, who has a 4.0 grade-point average at Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, said: “I don’t know exactly what the UW is looking for.”