There are a few bills set to go to the state Senate addressing tuition, grants and online advising for higher ed students.
Here are a few that Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, intends to sponsor.
SB 5544 would create an online higher education transfer and student advising system. At least 40 other states have some level of web-based advising in place. Washington is one of the few states without an online transfer & advising system. This idea has been proposed several times by the Higher Education Coordinating Board (now Student Achievement Council), but was never implemented due to budget constraints.SB 5548 would eliminate institutions’ authority to charge higher tuition rates for degree programs that are more expensive to offers, such as engineering. Differential tuition authority threatens the viability of the GET program because the value of a GET units is pegged to the highest tuition rates at public institutions in the state. “While I agree the state needs to do more to fund its goal of increasing STEM degrees, differential tuition is not the right approach–not only due to its devastating impacts to the GET program, but also because I believe that high-demand degree programs should be open to all students, regardless of their ability to pay more for more expensive degrees,” said Ranker.Ranker’s third bill, expected later this week, addresses the credit limit students receiving State Need Grant run up against when circumstances, such as having to waitlist a number of classes required for their program, result in the student exceeding the SNG credit limit.