Lawmakers fund evening degree, matching programs

During its 1990 session, the Washington State Legislature agreed to fund a new evening degree program at the UW, but at a level set at half of what the UW requested.

The lawmakers also funded two programs that match private gifts with public money to help support top-notch professors and graduate students. But again, the appropriations were below the original UW requests.

“We didn’t get everything we were asking for, but we’re relatively pleased,” says UW Government Relations Director Bob Edie. “If we had a disappointment, it is in the level of funding for the evening degree program.”

While the UW has offered night classes for many years, students could not finish a degree without also taking classes during the day. The UW asked for $2.6 million to fund 600 full-time equivalent students at night. Instead, the lawmakers halved that amount, giving about $1.3 million to fund about 300 full-time spaces. Since evening students are usually part-time, Edie estimates that from 750 to 900 students may attend in the fall.

The evening degree program is designed to meet the needs of adult students who may work full-or part-time and may have completed an associate of arts degree at a community college or lower-division course work at a four-year institution. Students will have a choice of general studies degrees in two areas, social sciences or humanities.

For the first time, Olympia funded a graduate fellowship program that matches private money with state support. The University will receive $900,000 in state matching funds, which will allow it to endow 36 graduate fellowships. Each fellowship consists of $25,000 in private donations and $25,000 in state funds.

The lawmakers also added funds to the Distinguished Professorship Program, which matches a $250,000 donation with $250,000 in public funds to endow a professorship. The UW will be able to award five new professorships through June 1991.

The legislature also earmarked funds for starting two new buildings on campus, the K-Wing Addition to the Health Sciences Center and a new physics building.