Legislature Approaches First Deadline – Intensifies Focus on Tuition

It may surprise you to know that the legislature and public universities do agree on a few things. For instance, both believe that too many high school graduates come to college unprepared for post-secondary curriculum. Presumably, that’s why the House is hearing a bill (HB 1656) that rearranges the graduation requirements. However, instead of a more focused set of requirements, beginning with the class of 2017, students would have something to say about what satisfies required college credits.

Here’s what the bill proposes:

  • Four English credits;
  • Three mathematics credits, but students will be able to choose one of the credits
  • Three social studies credits;
  • Two science credits;
  • Two credits in health and fitness;
  • One credit in the arts;
  • One credit in occupational education; and
  • Six credits in a “career concentration,” which students would select.

Students who intend to enroll directly in a four-year college or university would be encouraged but not required to select the following courses as his or her “career concentration”:

  • One additional science credit;
  • One additional credit in the arts;
  • Two credits in world languages; and
  • Two elective credits.

The Legislature is focused intently on stopping or slowing down tuition increases. Although it’s not clear that stopping cuts to higher education is one of the strategies.  Check out the bill table below to see just seven of the many bills that are attempting to hold down the cost of education. One may hope that one strategy will be to provide state funding for higher education.

Committee activity is extremely intense this week as the legislature closes in on the deadline for discussing new bills. The “cut-off” calendar drives legislative activity by articulating deadlines that come faster and faster, killing any bills along the way that haven’t moved forward in the process. The first deadline is Feb. 22. It’s the last day for the policy committees to hear bills. The fiscal committees get a few extra days for their work–then everyone heads to the floor of the Senate or House where the entire body votes on the bills that have made it through the large-mesh screen called the legislative process.

 

CWU HIGHER EDUCATION BILL WATCH

February 10, 2013

Welcome to the CWU Bill Watch. This table spotlights bills of particular interest to the university. Bills that have moved forward are marked with a *

For comprehensive bill information please see http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

Bill

SUBJECT AREA / EFFECT

Status

ACADEMICS

HB 1320 Requiring an online higher education transfer and student advising system.  *House Appropriations
HB 1544 Authorizing educational specialist degrees at Central Washington University and Western Washington University.  *House Higher Ed
HB 1614  Authorizing applied doctorate level degrees in audiology at Western Washington University. House Ways & Means
SB 5131 Providing tax incentives for donations of modern laboratory equipment to higher education institutions and vocational skills centers. *Senate Ways & Means
SB 5180 Establishes a legislative task force on improving access to higher education for students with disabilities. Senate Higher Ed
SB 5624 – Aligning high-demand secondary STEM or career and technical education programs with applied baccalaureate programs. (If measure is referred to committee.) *Senate Higher Ed

CAPITAL

HB 1405 Creating a competitive grant program for informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. House Capital
HB 1466 Revising alternative public works contracting procedures. House Capital

ENROLLMENT

HB 1739 Requiring trustees to set guidelines for the percentage of resident, non-resident, and foreign students. House Higher Ed

FINANCIAL AID

HB 1453  Allows students carrying 3 quarter credits to be eligible for the State Need Grant House Higher Ed
SB 5195  Allowing WGU to participate in the state need grant program. Senate Higher Ed

GOVERNANCE

HB 1048 Adds two members to the WSAC representingworkforce training and early learning. House Higher Ed

K-12 EDUCATION

HB 1208 Establishing a pilot program for the digital college in the high school. House Education
HB 1562 Requiring funding for professional development for K-12 teachers. House Education
SB 5278 Establishes a pilot program providing a 10% salary bonus for teachers of math, science, or special education. Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education
HB 1656 Establishing statewide high school graduation requirements that permit increased flexibility for students to select courses based on their interests and plans. House Education

TUITION

HB 1043 Removes the authority for public baccalaureate institutions to set differential tuition rates for resident, undergraduate programs. *House Appropriations
S-0713.1 Creating a tuition surcharge on tuition charged to international students to be deposited in the Washington advanced college tuition payment program account Senate Higher Ed
HB 1624  Restricting tuition increases for resident undergraduate students at four-year institutions of higher education. House Higher Ed
SB 5420 Enacts a two-year freeze on tuition IF the state provides no less than $225 million for the six public baccalaureates. Senate Higher Ed
SB 5421  Declares that the policy of the state is to: 1) Improve the access to and the quality of postsecondary education; and 2) Provide a level of fiscal commitment commensurate with the responsibility of the state to the educational and professional improvement of its citizens Senate Higher Ed
HB 1626 Aligning the higher education financial aid process with in-state tuition requirements. House Higher Ed
HB 1725  Establishes the tuition support fund program to provide financial support to students who cannot afford to enroll in or continue their postsecondary program. House Higher Ed
SB 5390 Provides incentive funding to institutions that demonstrate improvement on existing performance measures. Requires OFM to convene a “technical incentive funding model task force” to design an incentive funding model to support the incentive program. Senate Higher Ed

VETERANS

HB 1109 Requiring institutions of higher education that offer an early course registration period to provide early registration for eligible veterans and national guard members. House Higher Ed
SB 5318 Removing the one-year waiting period for veterans or active members of the military for purposes of eligibility for resident tuition. *Senate Ways & Means


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About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office schactler@cwu.edu, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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