Senate majority coalition releases “10-3-50” higher education funding plan

20130319_LegWA_6334shToday I participated in a press conference unveiling a plan to make new investments in the state’s higher education system. Below are highlights of the “10-3-50” plan, as proposed in Senate Bill 5883.

  • Ten percent increase in state funding for higher education, raising funding by $270 million to $3 billion
  • Three percent tuition reduction at all state institutions for the next two years
  • Create a new $50 million fund for science, technology, engineering and math degrees, with funds awarded to institutions on a competitive basis
  • Expand the state need grant by 7 percent to serve an additional 4,600 students

This proposal moves higher education from the backburner, where it’s been for several years, to the forefront of budget conversations. I’m proud to support the plan, and to be a part of a group in the Senate that’s championing higher education. By making these investments, we’ll be driving down the cost of college and ensuring that future generations will have access to higher education.

Higher education has seen steep reductions in state funding in recent years, with cuts of more than 40 percent to four-year universities since 2007. Those reductions have been backfilled by tuition increases of more than 100 percent at some schools. More funding has been added to the state need grant, which provides tuition assistance to low-income families, but many middle-class families in particular have found themselves without access to grants and taking on thousands of dollars’ worth of loans.

As a parent of two young girls, I’m personally aware of how important this issue is to middle-class families across our state. Now is the time to move forward with these new investments that will help make higher education attainable for all of our state’s students and families.