Tuition cut in Senate budget spells relief for middle-class families, Baumgartner says

OLYMPIA… As the state Senate Monday passed its $38 billion spending plan, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, called its proposed 25 percent tuition rollback an “absolutely stupendous” idea that will benefit middle-class families statewide.

The Senate’s no-new-tax budget proposal cleared the Senate on a vote of 26-23, allowing negotiations to begin with the state House. For Baumgartner, the tuition cut is the realization of a three-year effort. Baumgartner put the issue on the Legislature’s radar screen when he proposed a 3 percent tuition cut in 2013. The result was a new recognition of the importance of the issue, and a freeze on tuition that has lasted for two years.

“Making college affordable is one of the most important things we can do for middle-class families,” he said. “Democrats were in charge when recession hit, and they allowed tuition to skyrocket. I always hoped we would be able to correct that. This is a huge victory for students and parents in this state.”

Under the Senate plan, tuition at the University of Washington and Washington State University will decrease to $7,560 annually. Currently UW students pay $10,740 and WSU students pay $10,336. The figures do not include student fees. The Senate plan limits future tuition increases by tying them to increases in the state average wage.