Legislative budget writers on Wednesday unveiled a supplemental operating budget agreement that fully funded WSU’s $500,000 annual request to support the JCDREAM advanced materials research collaborative and provided funding to serve an additional 4,600 students with State Need Grants.
The budget agreement also breathed new life into plans to reconvene the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Workgroup. A bill to do just that died last week, but language in the budget agreement reinstated the group and provided $20,000 annually to support it.
The budget agreement reconciles differences between proposals put forth by the governor in December and the House and Senate in February. Floor votes are expected tomorrow, the last scheduled day of this year’s 60-day legislative session.
The budget funded WSU’s two primary supplemental priorities. All three previous proposals already had funded WSU’s $1.272 million request to correct an oversight and fund last year’s legislation to expand and transfer the state’s solar energy incentive program to the WSU Energy Program.
But the funding for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials was in question as it had been funded in two of the three proposals. WSU leads the legislatively approved advanced materials research collaborative with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with participation from other state universities and community colleges. The university’s request would fund the hiring of a full-time director and support staff and provide for a small competitive research grants program.
The House and Senate also compromised on their positions to better fund the State Need Grant, providing $18.5 million to reduce the ranks of students who are eligible to receive a State Need Grant but don’t receive one.