The University of Washington community is bracing for sequestration, the ominous $85 billion nationwide federal budget cuts that began on March 1.
Under the sequester, UW anticipates major cuts in research and also in student financial aid due to mandated 5.1 percent cuts in "nondefense discretionary programs."
The cuts, which must be implemented by the end of fiscal year 2013 on Sept. 30, provide a tight timeline. UW analysts estimate 8.2 percent of federal budget cuts, or $83 million out of $1.08 billion in federal grant and contract funding, according to Katherine Long and Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times.
In an email to the UW community Friday, UW President Michael Young described an estimated $75 to $100 million in losses to the current $1.05 billion of federally funded research. The cut is particularly concerning for UW's large research community.
The email also includes an estimation of $33,000 of losses in federal-work study funds. According to Young, "we intend to patch this with other money." Need-based Pell Grants - the largest federal student grant program - are protected from cuts during fiscal year 2013.
In his email, Young assures the community of UW's preparedness for the impacts of sequestration. He also emphasizes the school's opposition to research cuts:
I want you to know that we remain firmly opposed to these reductions and, working with our fellow institutions in the Association of American Universities, will continue our advocacy efforts in the nation's capital to implore the President and Congress to reach agreement on a long-term budget deal that will protect the country's investments in research and innovation.
Sequestration is mandated through 2021, and - if kept in full - would result in $1.2 trillion in spending cuts or saving cuts over the next decade, according to a post by the UW Office of Federal Relations.
Although there is still uncertainty about how federal agencies will implement cuts, sequestration signals a change in the higher-education landscape.
"Whatever Congress may do this month to adjust the cuts or to adopt a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, it is clear we have entered a new era for which we need to plan and be nimble and creative," Young writes.