House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Higher Education Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Eliminating the term "branch" as an identifying factor for extensions of the public institutions of higher education.
Sponsors: Representatives Haler, Wylie, Riccelli, Shea, Stanford, Robinson, Fey, Tarleton and Pollet.
Brief Summary of Bill
Hearing Date: 1/17/17
Staff: Megan Mulvihill (786-7304).
The federal government defines a "branch campus" as a location of an institution of higher education that is geographically apart and independent of the main campus of the institution. The branch campus is considered independent if it is permanent in nature; offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential; has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and has its own budgetary and hiring authority.
In 1989, the Legislature authorized the creation of five branch campuses to be operated by the state's two public research universities, the University of Washington (UW) and Washington State University (WSU), to serve citizens residing in major metropolitan areas. Originally, the branch campuses had two missions: (1) increase access to higher education by focusing on upper division and graduate programs, target place-bound students, and operate as a two plus two educational system in cooperation with the community and technical colleges; and (2) promote regional development by responding to demand for degrees from local businesses and support regional economies through research activities. The two-plus-two educational system means the branch campuses have articulation agreements and dual admissions policies with the local community and technical colleges to support transfer students. Since 2006 and 2007, the branch campuses have been allowed to offer lower division courses and admit first-year students and sophomores.
The five branch campuses include the UW-Tacoma, UW-Bothell, WSU-Tri-Cities, WSU-Vancouver, and WSU-Spokane.
Summary of Bill:
The term "branch" is struck from all statutes referencing the satellite campuses of the state's public institutions of higher education.
Fiscal Note: Not requested.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.