The University of Washington is using social media to spread the word about the importance of higher education.
When Governor Christine Gregoire proposed consolidating the state's education services into one cabinet-level Department of Education she talked about the importance of creating a seamless P-20 system (pre-school thru college). She cited figures about the need to keep college-age students in school long enough to get their degrees.
At the same time, the budget she proposed slashed nearly $189 million from higher education. The percentage of funding going to the UW is the same today as it was in 1990. If current budget cuts are enacted, state appropriations to the university will have been cut by nearly 50 percent over the past three years.
Last last month interim University of Washington President Phyllis Wise sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to consider the economic impact the UW has on the state when voting on the Governor's proposed budget cuts. According to Wise, for every state dollar that goes to the University of Washington, $22 is returned to the state economy.
Wise further states that state funding maintains the affordability of a higher education and leverages more than $9 billion in economic impact.
"Times are tough," Wise wrote," But please know - without state funding and strategic solutions - everything is at risk."
President Wise's blog talks about the potential for tuition increases of up to 30 percent and the elimiination of up to five-hundred slots for entering freshmen (this at a time when the UW only admits about half of those that apply).
In the meantime, a move is afoot to have graduates from the university post pictures of themselves, their children and their pets in cap and gown. Dubbed "Hats Off For Higher Ed," if you care to join in, you can post your picture on the UW's Facebook page.