Office of Planning & Budgeting

Higher Ed Policy


January 31, 2019

OPB Brief on Published Price vs. Net Price – 2019 update

The 2019 update of the Published Price vs. Net Price brief is now available on our briefs page, and reflects the newest available data.  The brief includes sector-wide data on trends in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges and institutions, a description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred…


January 17, 2018

New OPB Briefs: Published Price vs. Net Price, Differential Tuition, and Activity Based Budgeting

OPB has released two new briefs. The Published Price vs. Net Price brief is an updated version of a brief we posted in June, reflecting the newest available data.  The brief includes sector-wide data on trends in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges and institutions, a description of how declining…


June 7, 2017

Two New OPB Briefs: Resident Undergraduate Tuition Trends and Net Price

OPB has released two new briefs. The first brief focuses on trends in Resident Undergraduate (RUG) tuition rates and state funding environments across the United States, based on the most recent “Trends in College Pricing” report, which is released by the College Board each year. The report identifies Washington as the only state to have…


March 17, 2017

New OPB Brief on Cohort-Based Tuition Models

A new brief from the Office of Planning & Budgeting provides an overview of cohort-based tuition models (also referred to as guaranteed tuition, tuition lock or fixed-rate tuition models), which is a form of tuition policy in which a cohort of matriculating students pays a fixed rate of tuition for some specified period of time….


June 24, 2016

Update: Supreme Court Decision on Fisher v. University of Texas

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy in its second consideration of a Fisher v. University of Texas appeal. As a reminder, the case stemmed from a lawsuit by Abigail Fisher, a white applicant to UT Austin who claimed she was unfairly rejected due to the university’s…


May 19, 2016

OPB Briefs: Higher Education Trends

OPB has posted a report on higher education trends from the past year  to the Briefs tab of our website. Based on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Trends Report, the brief summarizes the ten trends outlined by The Chronicle and highlights relevant examples from Washington state. The brief also outlines a selection of additional higher…


April 25, 2016

New Report Examines Challenges Facing Public Research Universities in 21st Century

The Lincoln Project, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ study of public research universities (PRUs), has recently come out with its fifth and final report, which examines the challenges facing PRUs and recommends strategies for addressing them. The recommendations are threefold: Address Financial Challenges: The sharp reduction in state funding for PRUs—down 30 percent…


April 8, 2016

Updated OPB Brief on Published Price vs. Net Price

The rising costs of college are a popular subject for everyone from presidential candidates to media outlets. Parents and students blanche as published tuition prices climb ever higher. But the published price – often referred to as the “sticker price” for colleges – offers a misleading picture of the cost of higher education. OPB has updated…


March 22, 2016

New OPB Brief on Income Share Agreements (ISAs)

Over the past few months, income share agreements (ISAs) have received significant attention from political candidates, higher education advocates, and news sources. A new OPB brief takes a closer look at ISAs by: Exploring differences between and the history of privately funded ISAs and publicly funded ISAs (such as Pay It Forward). Comparing ISAs to federal…


January 26, 2016

Obama administration announces plan to expand Pell Grant program

The Obama administration has introduced a plan to bring back year-round Pell Grants and to create a $300 bonus for Pell recipients taking at least 15 credits a semester. Both elements of the plan are designed to incentivize students to graduate faster and accrue less debt in school. The plan would cost $2 billion over…



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