Sure the headline merely asks the question—”What would 15% cut mean for state colleges?”—but why is this even a conversation?
Double-digit tuition increases. Class cuts that would make it harder to finish a degree in four years. Enrollment cutbacks that would make it more difficult to get admitted to a state university.
Washington’s public college and university presidents, warning that a hypothetical 15 percent cut to higher education would be devastating to public colleges and universities, are in a standoff with the state Office of Financial Management (OFM) over fiscal planning for the next two years.
Washington’s state colleges and universities have had their funding cut for years. Tuition has skyrocketed. We’re having trouble retaining top professors. We’re already 25,000 degrees a year short of demand. I mean, we either want a state college and university system or we don’t. If we do want a state college and university system then we need to fund it at a level sufficient to support quality, access, and capacity. If we don’t want a state college and university system, then we should just stop pretending, and shut it down already.
But hypothetical conversations about hypothetical 15 percent cuts achieve nothing except making a smaller, say, 5 percent cut more likely. So shut up already about further cuts to higher education, and instead shift the conversation to something useful, like making the case to voters for raising taxes.