2018 WSA Legislative Victories

The 2018 legislative session was incredibly successful for students in Washington State. Student advocacy from across the state resulted in eleven pieces of legislation that made their way to the Governor Jay Inslee's desk. Students and allies were also able to secure millions of dollars in new funding for the Washington State Need Grant. Below is a brief description, and bill reports linked, for each legislative win of the 2018 legislative session:

Commitment to Fully Fund the WA State Need Grant (SNG)

Washington State needs a stable funding plan for higher education, coupled with a robust financial aid program to support our low-income students. This year, the WSA joined the College Promise Coalition to push for a fully funded SNG and serve the 21,000 underserved student population. The state legislature has committed to fully funding the SNG by 2021. Over 90,000 students will benefit from this state financial aid.


WA Student Loan Bill of Rights

SB 6029: Sen. Liias 

With over 760,000+ Washingtonians student loan borrowers and $24 billion in student loan debt, borrowers deserve to be protected from predatory loan practices. SB 6029 ensures that loan servicers are licensed and certified by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Further, a student advocate housed under the Washington Student Achievement Council is tasked with receiving and reviewing complaints from borrowers. 

HB 2595 - Rep. Zach Hudgins Automatic Voter Registration 

Citizens who are elibilge to register to vote will have to opportunity to register when they iinteract with state agencies. AVR will look to expand the number of people on the voter registration rolls. 

HB 1488 - Rep. Drew Hansen    Dream Act 2.0

HB 1488 ensures that undocumented students who have resided in Washington for three years and graduate from a WA high school remain eligible for state financial aid. It also expands financial aid to students with U & T visas.

HB 1433 - Rep Melanie Stambaugh                      Decoupling S&A Fees

Whenever tuition increased or decreased, Service and Activty fees were mandated by law to also increase or decrease. HB 1433 permanently decouples S&A fees and gives students on campus more autonomy over their students fees. The legislature decided to cap S&A fees increases at 4% a year.

HB 1561 - Rep. Noelle Frame      Open Educational Resources

Over 4 years a student will can pay around $3,600 or more for just textbooks. This bill secures $137,000 funding for grants for professors to develop free online textbooks for their course and it also funds a state coordinator to assist campus in the development of OER.

SB 6021 - Sen. Patty Kuderer    Same Day Voter Registration

Students can have only ten school days to regsiter students to vote. This bill allows citizens to register to vote up until the night of an election! Great victory to get more youth registered to vote. Part of the WA Voting Justice Coaltion priorties!

SB 1169 - Senator Tina Orwall Student Opportuntiy Relief & Assistance (S.O.A.R)

Our students can be subject to harsh forms of repayment if they fall into default on their student loans. This bill limits the level of garnishment from wages to pay for loans. It also disallows the suspension of professional liceneses for students in default.

HB 1513 - Rep. Steve Bergquist Pre-registration for 16/17 yr old

Youth are consistently on the move and need to be actively targeted to register to vote. This bill allows 16 and 17 year olds who are eligible to reigster to vote so that they are added to to voter rolls when they turn 18. 

HB 2367 - Rep. Kristine Reeves Child Care Taskforce

Students and employees desrve access to child care. However, due to varying rules and prices child care can be outreach for many. This task force will examine the effects of child care affordability and accessibility on the workforce and on businesses.

HB 6514 - Rep. Sharon Brown  Mental Health Resources

Students need access to preventative and emergency mental health services. This bill establishes a statewide mental health resource center for higher education institutions to utilize. It also establishes a grant program for universities to increase their mental health services. 

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Executive Director - Guillermo Rogel Jr. | ed@wastudents.org