Lower tuition sought

Senator wants to see 10 percent drop

— More than 170,000 students attending Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges would pay 10 percent less in tuition under new legislation sponsored by Sen. John Braun.

“More jobs than ever require some training or education after high school,” Braun, R-20TH District, said. “The state’s community and technical colleges train students in a variety of incredibly important skills that set them up for success in the workforce. Making these opportunities more affordable is better for our economy and our communities.”

Tuition policy has been a key focus for Braun, who sponsored the 2015 College Affordability Program, which implemented the first tuition cut in state history.

This followed the 2013-15 budget that froze tuition, putting an end to massive increases seen during the previous decade.

Similar to the recent tuition cut, the Legislature would be responsible for providing additional state funding to the schools to make up for lower tuition revenues to avoid impacting educational services.  

The cost of in-state tuition for full-time community college students is $3,936 in the 2017-18 school year. Braun’s legislation would represent an almost $400 annual savings beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

The 2015 legislation reduced tuition by 5 percent for public community and technical colleges. It also began a reduction of 15 percent at regional universities like Western, Central and Eastern Washington Universities and the Evergreen State College, and 20 percent at the University of Washington and Washington State.

“While we made our major two-year budget decisions last year, these intermediate years provide a great opportunity to make smaller strategic investments that help residents,” Braun said.

“With the state projected to take in an additional $1 billion more in the next four years than we expected when we passed the current budget, the Legislature is in the financial position to make this strategic investment.”

The proposal projects to cost the state $22 million per year.


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