Wash. university presidents: Budget cuts hurt

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Leaders of Washington's universities and colleges say cuts in state support to higher education are attracting national attention.

Speaking at a forum in Seattle Wednesday night, Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard said the reductions threaten the long-term excellence of the institutions.

Shepard on Wednesday joined the presidents of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University and Evergreen State College in a wide-ranging discussion at Town Hall Seattle. The presidents bemoaned the cuts, but there were few suggestions about what to do about declining state support.

To help close a $5 billion budget shortfall last year, lawmakers cut $500 million from the higher education budget. But they also now allow the schools to set their own tuition. Last year UW increased tuition by 20 percent - one of the single biggest percentage cost spikes in school history.

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Information from The Seattle Times: http://www.seattletimes.com