OLYMPIA – The state House today passed a supplemental budget for the 2017-2019 biennium that includes major new investments in higher education. In addition to fully funding the State Need Grant within three years and expanding the Guided Pathways advising and support program at career and technical colleges, the budget completes a much-needed expansion of the University of Washington’s computer science program with a $3 million appropriation.
“Our state’s technology companies are creating jobs faster than we are training Washington students to fill these jobs. We are expanding the University of Washington computer science program so we can fill those new jobs at Microsoft or Amazon or Tableau with UW students instead of students from other states or other countries,” said Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island.
Hansen, who chairs the House Higher Education committee, pushed to include full funding of the computer science expansion in the budget this year.
Increasing slots at UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering is critical to educating students for careers in Washington’s leading-edge tech companies. The funding in the budget completes a doubling of the school’s capacity, to more than 600 degrees per year.
“We applaud the Washington state legislature for helping to fully fund enrollments at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen Computer Science and Engineering School. Combined with the contributions from many companies and individuals in the region, the school will double its capacity to graduate students with computer science degrees. This investment will better prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow while strengthening our state’s ability to develop talent and compete on a global scale,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith.
Ed Lazowska, who chairs the school, says the funding invests in opportunity for Washington’s students and in the growth of the state’s innovation economy.
“We are beyond thrilled, and beyond grateful, to all who have worked so hard to make this possible: to the governor, to our many supporters in the House and Senate – with a special shout-out to Rep. Hansen, who has championed computer science education at all levels for many years – and to our many supporters in the tech community,” Lazowska said.
The Senate passed its budget proposal on Friday. Budget negotiators in both chambers will now work together to reconcile the two proposals and pass a final supplemental budget on or before March 8, the last day of the 60-day session.