Braun Bill Would Provide 10 Percent Cut in Cost of Tuition at Community Colleges

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A bill sponsored by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, would allow more than 170,000 students at Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges to pay 10 percent less in tuition.

“More jobs than ever require some training or education after high school,” Braun said in a press release. “The state’s community and technical colleges train students in a variety of incredibly important skills that set them up for success in the workforce. Making these opportunities more affordable is better for our economy and our communities.”

The proposal will cost the state an estimated $22 million a year, according to Braun.

Braun, who sponsored the 2015 College Affordability Program, has focused heavily on tuition policy. The program implemented the first tuition cut in state history, reducing tuition by 5 percent for public community and technology colleges, according to a release. It also started a reduction of 15 percent at regional universities like the Evergreen State College, Western, Central and Eastern Washington Universities, as well as 20 percent at the Washington State University and the University of Washington.

The move followed the 2013-15 budget that froze tuition, which put an end to increases experienced the previous decade.

“Similar to the recent tuition cut, the Legislature would be responsible for providing additional state funding to the schools to make up for lower tuition revenues to avoid impacting educational services,” stated the release.

The cost of in-state tuition for full-time students enrolled in community college is $3,936 for the 2017-18 school year. The legislation would represent an almost $400 annual savings that would begin in the 2018-19 school year.

“While we made our major two-year budget decisions last year, these intermediate years provide a great opportunity to make smaller strategic investments that help residents,” Braun said. “With the state projected to take in an additional $1 billion more in the next four years than we expected when we passed the current budget, the Legislature is in the financial position to make this strategic investment.”

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