State Relations

February 11, 2020

News from Olympia: Higher education investments preserved

It’s week five and just like Winter Quarter, session is halfway over. Today is the last day for bills to pass out of the fiscal committee in their house of origin. Bills must move out of their house of origin and into the opposite chamber by 5 p.m. next Wednesday, Feb. 19 in order to continue through the policy making process.

Yesterday, Senate Bill 6492 was the first bill signed into law this year by Gov. Jay Inslee. This bill applies funding fixes to the Workforce Education Investment Act, which made critical investments in higher education and student financial aid last session. The Act guarantees the full cost of tuition at any in-state public college or university through the Washington College Grant for resident students from a family of four making $50,000 or less per year. It also establishes partial grants for students from families making up to the state’s median family income, currently $97,000 per year.

Late last year, forecasts showed that more Washington students than anticipated plan to take advantage of the Washington College Grant, creating a funding gap. Senate Bill 6492 addresses that expected shortfall and ensures funding for the investments is secure and easy to collect.

During the bill signing, the Governor thanked the bill sponsor, Sen. Jaime Pedersen, as well as Sen. Emily Randall and Reps. Drew Hansen and Frank Chopp for their leadership on this issue.