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Tuition freeze supports students
Published 7/3/2013 10:56:00 AM
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Students across campus are commending the Board of Regents decision regarding next year’s tuition.

“This really shows that [legislators] care about students,” said Shelby Beier, a senior strategic communication major. “I know a lot of students who are struggling, and can use help like this.”

The WSU Board of Regents met Monday, July 1, to rescind their previous decision and freeze the current cost of tuition. The vote was unanimous.

The board had previously voted on May 23 to approve a 2 percent tuition increase. At the time of the vote, Washington Legislators in Olympia were still working on the state’s overall budget.

A modest tuition increase was expected to be included in the state budget, which caused the board to vote in favor of a 2 percent hike. When it became clear that the state budget did not include a rise in tuition, the board was able to remove WSU’s increased cost.

The annual cost of tuition for full-time undergraduate students at WSU remains the same as it was this last year at $10,874, according to the Board of Regents.

WSU President Elson Floyd said it took one regular legislative session and two special sessions for this decision to be reached.

As a result, Floyd said that WSU now has “the best budget that we’ve seen in over two decades.”

Connie Niva, chair of the Board of Regents, spoke positively about the state’s decision, calling it a victory for WSU.

“I think our action … really drew a line in the sand,” Niva said. “Our students and the students of the state of Washington have had enough. I applaud the leadership from Dr. Floyd to take us in that direction.”

Regent Scott Carson said he is in favor of the efforts taken to reach this outcome.

“This is an important step for this institution to take,” Carson said. “It’s a great day for the students, and the families of those students.”

Kathy Barnard, executive director of University Communications, described the effects of the outcome as two-fold. Not only will tuition remain the same, WSU will receive more state funding, she said.

“The beauty of this budget, what really makes it truly remarkable, is that the legislature voted to provide more funding to education,” Barnard said.

The vote to provide more funding will give WSU more funds than the 2 percent tuition increase would have generated, Barnard said.

Senior kinesiology major Tim Rasmussen said he believes potential students are being deterred from attending college due to the high price tag.

Rasmussen said if students are vocal, they can have an influence in the affordability of their education.

“Even one voice can make a difference,” he said. “We can help out the next generations.”

In an entry to his online blog, "New State Operating Budget Worth the Wait," President Floyd discussed his future aspirations for the affordability of education.

“The Washington State Legislature has turned an important corner toward re-investing in higher education,” Floyd said in his blog. “By far, the most encouraging part is the recognition that we cannot continue to fund higher education on the backs of our students.”

ASWSU President Taylor Hennessey said he shares Floyd’s joy in the state’s decision, but agrees this is only the first step.

Hennessey said his parents attended WSU in the ‘80s, and recalls a time when it was possible for students to work their own way through college on a minimum wage summer job.

“While students can tally a W for the record, we still have a long way to go,” he said. “Higher education should be a personal choice, more than a mere financial one.”

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