EWU, WSU students rally in protest of proposed education budget cuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU, WSU students rally in protest of proposed education budget cuts

Student rally on EWU campus Student rally on EWU campus
Student rally at WSU Student rally at WSU

CHENEY, Wash. - About 300 Eastern Washington University students and faculty turned out for a rally in Cheney to protest education budget cuts being considered by the state Legislature.

Thursday at noon, WSU students, faculty and staff rallied at noon on the Glenn Terrell Mall as a show of support for programs and employees that may be cut as a result of impending budget reductions. Students carried signs asking "what are we paying for," among other statements and questions.

Lawmakers are still working out the details, but they've identified education as a major target for spending cuts as they work to fill a roughly $9 billion budget deficit.

"It's tough for all college kids," said EWU sophomore Cory Martin.  "You know, everyone's tending to save a lot more money these days."

Martin is the first in his family to attend college and says he worries about his financial aid during the economic downturn.

Authorities at Eastern Washington University says they're bracing to lose approximately 20% of their budget. The House proposal seeks to cut $170 million more than the Senate proposal in higher education.

A statement released by WSU President Elson Floyd says his university could lose as much as 29% or more than $151 million of their budget depending on which budget is finally approved. Student enrollment at WSU would also be cut by 1,500 students under the lawmakers' proposals. The university would be forced to cut at least 400 to 500 jobs under legislative budget plans announced this week.

EWU student organizer Matthew Holmes said Wednesday he understands the need for budget cuts and adds the cuts under discussion "could severely hurt our ability to produce competent, competitive workers for the future."

Eastern Washington junior Whitney Sylvester, from Mercer Island, told the Spokesman-Review that education should be the No. 1 priority of Washington lawmakers.

Administrators at local universities say no final decisions have been made about how cuts will be made on their campuses.

EWU is planning several hearings to give students the opportunity to voice their opinions: 
 
               - Monday, April 6th, Noon-2pm, EWU Pub
               - Tuesday, April 7th, Riverpoint Campus, 9-11am, Academic Center

Idaho colleges, universities submit fee increases

Idaho's four-year public universities are seeking to increase student tuition and fees between 5 percent and 9.3 percent next year.

The state Board of Education is scheduled to consider fee increase proposals from the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College on Monday.

Idaho State University has requested the largest increase at 9.3 percent, while Boise State University requested the smallest increase at 5 percent.

Legislative budget analysts warned the student fee increases would be necessary to help offset state budget cuts.

Idaho lawmakers unveiled a higher education budget last week, reducing total spending by 5.8 percent compared to last year.


 


 

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