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.