2017-18 WSA Statewide Legislative Agenda

  • Reduced Cost of Tuition: While the WSA appreciates the tuition decreases from 2015 legislative session, we are seeing tuition increase 2.2% over the next two years. Decreases and freezes of tuition are instrumental in keeping education attainable for all students.
  • Fully Funded State Need Grant: With 23,000 students still underserved by the SNG, the WSA would like to see this critical financial aid program fully funded. Increasing financial aid increases the opportunity for students of color and students from low-income communities.
  • Financial Support for Undocumented Students (DACA): The WSA supports HB 1488 which expands financial aid for some unintentionally excluded visa statuses. Our students would like to see the residency requirement lowered to one-year. Additionally, we would like to see the creation of a state and university sponsored loan program specifically dedicated to undocumented students in Washington.
  • Student Loan Bill of Rights: With student debt increasing among graduates and undergraduates, loan servicers and the state owe borrowers increased protection on student loans.
  • Decoupling of Service and Activity Fees: Currently, S&A fees are tied to tuition levels, which limits the ability of students to self-impose fees (ultimately approved by each respective institution's Board of Regents/Trustees) and manage existing programs sponsored by S&A fees. Decoupling S&A allows for more flexibility and autonomy on our campuses. Community colleges are not included in this ask.
  • Open Education Resources: Textbook costs are one of the biggest factors in the increased costs of attendance for students. OER would allow for faculty to create their own online textbooks and reducing the overall costs of course material for students.
  • Graduate Student Loan Program (study): The WSA would like to see a study conducted to look at the effectiveness and practicality of running a state-sponsored loan program for graduate students. By providing graduate student loans at a lower interest rate, graduate students could obtain funding for their education with a more manageable interest rate and financial obligation. 
  • Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault: The WSA has been working with the Council of Presidents and Title IX Coordinators to create a more effective, fair, and transparent adjudication process. We are looking to exempt student conduct codes from the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to allow for more campus flexibility in developing a new adjudication/investigative model.
  • Student Veteran Tuition Waiver Increase and Accessibility: With the military downsizing of the last 5 years there have been more general discharges under honorable conditions, which do not receive the same benefits as honorable discharges. Changing the eligibility and credits will help student veterans achieve more and will make higher education more accessible for those who have served our country.
  • Student Employee Unions: An effort to create a legislative framework to allow student employees at four-year universities to create a student employee union which is able to collectively bargain for increased wages and fair working conditions.
  • Expanded and Subsidized Child Care: Students with families and dependents deserve reliable and affordable child care services on campus. The WSA is looking to expand existing facilities and increase state subsidies for child care.  
  • Voter Registration Accessibility: The WSA Supports extending the voter registration deadline until 11 days prior to the election, and in person on the day of the election: Pre-Registration for 16-17 year and passing the Voting Rights Act.
  • Support for Veteran Mental Health Centers: Student veterans deserve access to on-campus mental health services that fit their unique needs. Our efforts will aim to equip our universities with one full-time mental health counselor, housed in the Veterans Resource Centers. 

Contact your campuses' student legislative liaison here!

WSA Legislative Victories 2017 Legislative Session 

SB 5022: Increased transparency and consumer protections for student loan borrowers

The WSA is proud to have worked with Senator Barbara Bailey, the Office of the Attorney General and the Washington Student Achievement Council to pass Senate Bill 5022! Higher educations institutions will now have to provide students with annual reminders of student loans and payment options available. 

This wouldn't have been possible without the dedication of our student legislative liaison team and staff!

 SB 5764 (Wellman) Protections for Campus-Based Victim Sexual Assault Advocates 

The WSA and Council of Presidents worked hard this legislative session to pass SB 5764 which provided confidentially protections for campus-based victim sexual assault advocates. Thank you to Senator Lisa Wellman, Senator Lynda Wilson, and Senator Barbara Bailey for your continued advocacy to support survivors of sexual assault. We will continue our work on this issue into next year's legislative session!​

HB 2037 (Frame) Reauthorization of Disability Taskforce

This bill extends the expiration date of the Disabilities Services Transfer workgroup and requires the workgroup to continue working on a plan to remove obstacles for students with disabilities. Thank you, Representative Noel Frame and the Council of Presidents for your dedication to this issue!

SB 5472 (Pearson) Expand Number of Ballot Drop Boxes in the State of Washington

This bill requires one ballot drop box per 15,000 resdidents in a county. Casting your ballot will be made easier for students and voters across the state of Washington. Huge thank you to the Washington Voting Justice Coalition and others for the role they played in passing this bill.

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