Washington State Senate Approves Bill Linking Tuition to Average Wage

Last week, the Washington State Senate approved legislation that would tie public college tuition to a portion of the average state wage, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Based on the average annual wage, which is approximately $52,600, the University of Washington and Washington State University systems would be allowed to charge up to 14 percent – or about $7,400 in tuition per year. That compares to their current rates of about $10,300 and $10,700, respectively. Regional colleges, like Eastern Washington University, would be capped at 10 percent. Community colleges would be allowed to charge up to 6 percent, although many currently cost less than that.

The proposed tuition cuts are estimated to cost to the state $112 million to $232 million.

Nearly half of Washington State Senate Democrats voted for the bill, but many raised concerns about properly funding the measure.

"We do want to reduce tuition, but we don't want it to be an empty promise," said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

The bill now heads to Washington State's Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.


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The Spokesman-Review