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Victory for Republican lawmakers as Washington state cuts tuition up to 20 percent

It was a priority of Republicans in the closely divided Legislature, and they got it through: Washington state will cut tuition at its four-year public universities by 15-20 percent over the next two years, the Associated Press reports.

Community colleges will see a 5 percent cut in tuition next year as a result of the two-year budget deal, if it’s signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee:

Washington state Sen. Andy Hill said the tuition policy bill makes a long-term commitment by limiting future tuition increases to the rate of growth in median income.

“Lowering tuition is a great step in providing crucial relief to American families,” said Hill, R-Redmond, noting that college students in Washington are graduating with an average of $25,000 in student loan debt. “We think it has great economic impacts going forward.”

In-state tuition would drop about $500 at the University of Washington this fall compared to last year, and another $1,000 the following year.

It’s nearly unprecedented for states to cut tuition, AP says:

Although many states have frozen college tuition in the years since approving big increases during the recession, only Minnesota also has passed a tuition cut. The Minnesota Legislature approved a 1 percent tuition cut next year just for community college students for fall 2016, but four-year universities are allowed to increase tuition in Minnesota at the same time.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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