Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

State House Committee Drafts New Higher Education Legislation

Having declared education a top priority for the 2013 term, Washington state legislators are opening the new legislative session by discussing a variety of higher education issues including tuition, financial aid programs and student debt.

The House Committee of Higher Education met Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Wed. Jan 30 for public hearings on a variety of new education initiatives.

On Jan. 29 the committee was briefed about the relationship between rising tuition of state colleges and universities and student borrowing patterns. The committee also heard testimony about House Bill 1043, which would limit the authority of state colleges to set differential tuition models that offer separate tuition rates for nonresident students, summer school students, and other students enrolled in non-regular academic programs.

Representatives from both two-year and four-year state-funded institutions testified that the bill could impede institutions’ financial flexibility in the future, while student representatives testified in favor of the bill.

Among the bills discussed in the Jan. 30 work session was House Bill 1322, which would allow nonprofit institutions to participate in the State Need Grant program, intended to assist low-income students in offsetting their higher education costs. The bill is co-sponsored by Walla Walla County Representative Maureen Walsh.

The committee also discussed House Bill 1331, authorizing the creation of student advisory committees at four-year public universities. The purpose of these committees would be to provide the administration with student-based feedback and input on “issues that directly affect student ability to access and succeed in educational programs,” like tuition rates and additional program fees.

The committee will meet again on Jan. 31 for a work session on financial aid counseling and the Guaranteed Tuition Education Program.

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