2015-2017 Budget Update
The WSA has always advocated for affordable tuition; the best form of financial aid is low tuition. Thus, the WSA congratulates the work of student lobbying in securing the first tuition reduction in
decades for the 2016 and 2017 school years.
5% tuition cut for every community college and public university for 2016.
15% tuition reduction for University of Washington and Washington State University
20% tuition reduction for all regional schools
5% tuition reduction continues for all community colleges.
The Board of Directors is also cognizant of potential impacts to students with the combined decrease in State Need Grant funding. The WSA plans to monitor both access and affordability closely in the
coming year to asses student experiences with the reduction.
For a full statement, please click here
WSA has opposed relentless efforts to remove public accountability to the cost of college by releasing control of tuition setting to local boards of trustees or regents. Disinvestment in public
higher education has accelerated in recent years as a result of the drastic cuts imposed by the Legislature. On many
occasions, the WSA has influenced the Legislature to reduce administrative and legislative proposals for larger increases in tuition and more long-lasting tuition increases.
- In the 2007 legislative session, the WSA was successful in temporarily capping tuition increases at 7% for what was thought to be the next decade.
- In the 2009 session, the Legislature proposed removing the cap permanently in light of the economic crisis. The WSA fought back and limited increases beyond 7% for the next two years.
- In 2012, the WSA helped ensure a zero-cuts budget to Higher Ed, the first no-cuts budget in almost a decade. While the tuition increases for that school year had already been set the year before,
the zero-cuts budget helped to ensure that there was no need for any higher tuition increases.
- First in 2013 and renewed in 2014, the WSA secured a tuition freeze for all Washington State public colleges and universities. This had been the first time in 30 years there has not been a
tuition increase in Washington State.
The WSA has consistently advocated for financial aid support by the state and federal government that keeps pace with tuition increases.
- The WSA succeeded in the getting Graduate Fellowship Program created and funded, fought merit-based requirements for State Need Grant eligibility, and helped create the collegiate license plate
- Every year we work with legislators to create a budget that ensures the State Need Grant sees no cuts and stays as close to increases in tuition as possible. In 2014, an additional 5 million
dollars was added to the State Need Grant.
The WSA has passed numerous bills over it's 30 year history to curb the rising cost of textbooks and hold textbook companies accountable for ensuring affordability to students.
- Most notably, the WSA worked to pass legislation in the sessions of 2006, 2007, and 2009 to ban textbook bundling (textbook companies used to make you buy multiple books together), price
disclosure to faculty so that faculty can be aware of how much they're asking their students to spend for their class in textbook costs, and cost-consideration requirements for bookstores,
publishers, and faculty.
Sometimes obtaining a seat at the table is half the battle. Stu dent participation and input in a number of task forces, blue ribbon
committees, and other work groups has also often been driven by the WSA.
- In 1998, after the WSA and its predecessors had been advocating for 17 years, the Legislature approved the
creation of the governor-appointed "Student Regent/Trustee" position that is in place today.
- In the 2008 session the WSA began the next step in advocating for student representation for community and technical college students to have a voice and a vote on their Boards of
- In the 2012 legislative session, the WSA then won legislation to place voting rights for students on the Board of Trustees for all Community and Technical Colleges. Now, there are no public
colleges in Washington that can't have student representation on the largest governing boards.
- The WSA has also successfully advocated for a student member on the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) - appointed by the Governor. The WSA also ensured that the replacement of the HECB,
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), had a student representative.
The WSA has worked to ensure that students who are the children of undocumented immigrants retain access to higher education and financial aid, and are not punished for the status of their
parents. Furthermore, the WSA worked against Initiative 200, fought for increased access for under-represented populations in higher education
institutions, and testified for enhanced recruitment and retention of minority faculty, staff, and students.
- Since 2007 the WSA has worked nationally with the United States Student Association to pass the DREAM Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for those children of undocumented parents
through a college education.
- In 2012, the WSA made the Washington DREAM Act a legislative priority and brought in testimony and worked alongside the Washington DREAM Act Coalition and One America to ensure the passage of the
- In 2014, the WSA co-lead the statewide coalition with One America to advocate for the DREAM Act again. The DREAM/Real Hope Act passed, giving undocumented students access to apply for state aid
and adding an additional 5 million dollars to the State Need Grant.
The WSA has fought and one several bills that ensured student veterans had as much acess as possible to classes, financial aid counseling, easy acess to services on campus, and more.
- In the 2012 legislative session, the WSA ensured early class registration for all Student Veterans, as well as in-state tuition for active military moved into Washington.
- In 2014, the WSA secured academic credit for certain types of military experience. In addition, WSA was successful in eliminating the one year waiting period for veterans to access in-state
tuition in Washington State.
The WSA has historically been the only organization who consistently fights for affordable childcare on campuses since the 1980’s and has won incremental victories, such as establishing a
competitive Student Parent Child Care grant to help support the creation or expansion of campus childcare programs.
- In 2008 the WSA succeeded in promoting legislation that redesigned the program into a matching grant to stabilize funding for campus childcare facilities and operations and has been working to
expand the State’s matching funds.
- The program was suspended during the 2010 Supplemental Session, but despite the dire budget crisis the WSA concerted advocacy efforts and had it restored funding in the 2011 Session.
Contracts with transit systems for bus passes, circulator bus routes on campuses, routes between areas of concentrated student housing and campuses, student discounts, and improved parking are
all subjects influenced to the benefit of students by the WSA.
The WSA has advocated on a biennial basis for the efficient use of existing campus buildings and for prioritization of new projects based on student needs. Furthermore, the WSA has been
vocal about which projects are the highest priorities for the quality of education of Washington students.