2024 Legislative Session brings new investments to Western

Published On

Thu, 03/14/2024 - 8:44 am

Last week marked the end of the supplemental legislative session in Olympia, and, though it was a “short,” 60-day session, state lawmakers passed several bills into law, including some with impact to WWU and the students we serve.

Here’s a quick summary of new investments for Western coming out of the 2024 session:

  • $445,000 per year for Electrical and Computer Engineering degree program expansion
  • $400,000 for academic access and outreach programs
  • $300,000 for WWU to contract with a nonprofit located in Kitsap County that provides cyber security curriculum to postsecondary institutions for cyber security education
  • $200,000 for WWU to contract with a nonprofit located in Whatcom County that provides economic and financial education to conduct foundational research on the efficacy of financial education course formats.
  • $100,000 for the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity to collaborate on curriculum development and teacher training
  • $500,000 in local capital funds for minor works preservation projects on campus

In addition to these state investments, several policy bills also passed the Legislature with impact to WWU. These include but are not limited to:

Senate Bill 5904 – Extends eligibility for awards under the Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship, and Passport to Careers programs from five years to six years.

House Bill 2214 – Allows Basic Food Program or Food Assistance Program recipients in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the Washington College Grant.

House Bill 2112 – Requires public and private institutions of higher education to provide opioid and fentanyl prevention education and awareness to all students.

House Bill 1950 – Directs public employers to notify employees about certification renewals and to certify employment through the public service loan forgiveness program at the time of separation.

I extend my deepest thanks to Nora Selander, Director of Government Relations, for her leadership and tireless efforts to support WWU’s priorities in Olympia this session, as well as to the many students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and friends of Western who took the time to advocate for Western during the Legislative Session.