I am very pleased that the budget planning process for the coming fiscal year (which begins on July 1, 2018) is proceeding smoothly.
Thankfully, throughout our 28-year history, we have been wise and prudent stewards of state and student resources and have likewise remained committed to steady, controlled growth. Our partnership with the State Legislature is critical to that continued growth. Without this partnership, and substantial increases in state support, the 7 and 8 percent rates of growth of the recent past are not sustainable.
Nonetheless, our campus was built for growth and after almost three decades of steady annual increases in student enrollment, it is now part of our fabric, a source of energy and of value to our communities. Our South Sound region continues to demonstrate a demand for four-year degrees. To help meet that demand, we have developed an incomparable set of assets—faculty and staff, campus footprint, collaboration with our fellow academic institutions and a solid academic reputation.
With the full support of UW leadership, we have developed a sustainable budget model that allows us to continue to expand access with uncompromising excellence. Expanding our enrollment for fall 2018 has been approved contingent on continued thoughtful stewardship of our budgets to ensure that we remain a healthy and financially sustainable campus. This will mean a more rigorous review of new programs and new faculty and staff lines as we move forward.
As I noted, the State Legislature is an important partner in our growth. Proposed expansions for the next few years, such as mechanical and civil engineering in the Institute of Technology, do depend on increases in state funding to support new faculty. This would include additional funding requests for student support in areas such as the library and basic science instruction. The proposed new Academic Building, which would provide vital new space for classrooms, faculty offices, laboratories and student study spaces, is also on track for submission to the State for capital budget approval.
Fundamentally, budgets are an important tool for achieving critical objectives, requiring us to prioritize. Our paramount concern must be to ensure that those students we enroll are successful. This is the true measure of an effective 21st-century university.