WSA Legislative Agenda 2019
Full and Accelerated Funding for the State Need Grant
With an investment of $18 million during the 2018 session, Washington State moved closer to fully funding the SNG last year and we applaud those efforts. The WSA aims to ensure the following: a) full funding happens by or before 2021 and aid the ~21,000 students who are left unfunded b) the SNG has secure funding for the SNG by making the program an entitlement c) lastly, we are pushing for eligibility for the SNG to expand to from 70% of the median family income to 100% MFI.
College Without Debt
Washington State is home to 800,000 student loan borrowers who collectively owe $24 billion dollars in student loan debt. Funding levels for public universities in Washington have not returned to pre-recession levels. We urge the legislature to develop a long-term funding plan that covers the entire the cost of attendance for undergraduate and graduate students (tuition, housing, textbooks, and living expenses). Our efforts aim to leave students with zero student loan debt once they graduate college. 11 states offer some form of free college, our goal is for WA to have the most robust program in the nation.
Undocumented Student Loan
With recent threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we subsequently see the presence and retention of our undocumented students under attack. With no clear indication from the federal government that DACA students will be protected, the WSA is advocating for increased protections and financial aid programs for our undocumented student population here in Washington State. The WSA is asking the state legislature to create a state-funded loan program specifically for undocumented students to access which would create a reliable way for students to pay for higher education expenses.
Eliminate Working Requirement for Working Connections Child Care
Child care can often exceed the cost of tuition for some student parents. 25% of the student body in Washington are working parents and deserve access and increased affordability for child care services. Currently, eligibility for the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidies requires that a student works at least 20 hours a week. On-campus jobs that are most accessible to students and accommodate class schedules are limited to only 19.5 hours per week, which automatically exclude student parents from eligibility for these benefits. We believe that students shouldn’t be forced to work a minimum amount of hours while going to school and taking care of a family. The WSA advocates for the work requirement for the WCCC program to be removed and allow students to access this subsidy.