It’s summer…and though it’s the best time of year to be outside and going to events, it’s never too early for families planning to send kids to college to think ahead to what they have to expect.
Last month I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Eastern Washington University commencement ceremony. It was an honor to speak there, and there was a lot for graduates to celebrate. But at the same time, it was a good moment to reflect on the challenges families with kids going to public colleges and universities will face…
College isn’t as easy as it used to be, and I’m not talking about tests here. Students and families have faced higher costs and less certainly in recent years than perhaps ever before. Since 1986, tuition rates for state colleges and universities in Washington have increased each year.
Under the leadership in Olympia, even a 7% cap on tuition increases that I had successfully pushed through in 2007 was overturned and tuition was raised by 14% in 2009, 2010, and 2011!
Because of this, Washington State is now ranked #2 in terms of the increase in the average cost of tuition at public colleges and universities. That’s unacceptable. But that’s why the Senate Majority Coalition went to work and froze tuition in its place for two straight years. That hadn’t happened since 1980-1981!
It was a mistake to do away with the 7% cap on tuition growth.
It was a mistake to allow 14% tuition increases each year.
I don’t know how long we can sustain the tuition freeze, but we simply cannot have a repeat of those mistakes. Let’s keep them in the past.