By Eric Long
The EWU Board of Trustees approved on July 9 a $498 million operating budget, which does not increase resident undergraduate tuition for this academic year.
According to a news release by Eastern’s media relations director David Meany, the operating budget would cover the years 2013-15.
“The administration continues to work toward maintaining low and reasonable tuition rates because of the benefits students derive from such action. I believe that the best financial aid that we can provide to the overall student body is low tuition, or in this case, a tuition freeze,” said university president Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo in a statement made Sept. 16. “I realize that we might not be able to continue this trend if the legislature does not provide additional funding to Eastern. But while we can possibly maintain limited increases, we will do our best to keep tuition lower than any other university in the state of Washington.”
Washington Sen. Michael Baumgartner worked with the board of trustees in their decision on EWU’s tuition. He initially proposed a 3 percent tuition decrease, but the board of trustees decided simply not to increase tuition.
“I have a special place in my heart for Eastern,” said Baumgartner.
Baumgartner is vice-chairman of the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee in Washington, which is in charge of the state’s budget. He is also an active member of the higher education committee, pushing for lower tuition and an increase in funding at schools across the state.
“I think Eastern does the best job,” said Baumgartner. He appreciates the way Eastern keeps tuition low for students compared to other schools around the state.
The board of trustees also approved a capital budget of $43.6 million for 2013-15, according to Meany. This budget includes almost $14 million for phase two of the Patterson Hall renovation, which is EWU’s main academic building. The building is expected to be reopened by winter quarter in 2014.