Tuition hikes affect college decisions
January 25, 2011
Tuition hikes at Washington public universities make higher education an even bigger investment
Over the next two years, tuition at the University of Washington and other state universities is expected to increase up to 11 percent per year. Washington’s community colleges would see increases of about 9 percent per year. And that still won’t be enough.
Last month, Gov. Christine Gregoire was forced to make some tough cuts in her proposed budget in order to help close a multibillion-dollar gap. Among the cuts was a 4.2 percent reduction in state support for higher education, the part of the budget not protected by any state or federal requirements.
Unfortunately for students, this means larger class sizes, a smaller variety of courses, lower enrollments and increases in tuition in order to make up for lost money due to the cuts.
In response, Gregoire’s 16-member higher education task force was assigned the objectives of finding ways to pay for state universities and exploring effective methods of governing the state university system.
Currently, Washington’s tuition rates are set by the state Legislature. In most states, however, a higher-education governing board is responsible for this assignment.
Gregoire’s task force, primarily made up of local business leaders, proposed in a report released earlier this month to grant universities the power to set tuition rates. This is expected to further raise the cost of college, but would provide support to universities with the budget cuts and higher demand for advanced degrees.
In order to lessen the financial impact on families, the report also supports the creation of a private financial aid endowment, where donating businesses could claim a tax break for contributions. This would make Washington the first state to adopt such a program, with a goal of raising $1 billion over the next 10 years.
The task force’s recommendations also call for eliminating little-used courses, creating incentives for students to only take the courses they need to graduate, launching three-year bachelor’s degree programs, and increasing the number of bachelor’s degree awarded in the state with a higher number of degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Regardless of what actions the state decides to take, students can only prepare for an inevitable increase in their cost for further education.
How to begin your scholarship search for college
Tuition costs are steadily rising, but the great news is there are millions of dollars in scholarship money waiting to be claimed by qualified candidates every year. Take these simple steps to help make your dream of a debt-free college education a reality.
Explore available resources to uncover and win scholarships
Visit the College and Career Center at your high school. Not only can advisers help you dig up good finds, but they also have the know-how to edit your scholarship essays and financial aid forms.
Schedule an appointment with your guidance counselor. Counselors receive many local scholarships, so the more you can tell your counselor about your passions, interests and career aspirations, the more likely he or she can find scholarships for which you are eligible.
Ask about your parents’ employer, union or work association. These organizations often offer scholarships that are only available to the children of their employees and members.
Check out corporations. Target, Best Buy and KFC are just a few of the dozens of national corporations that have expansive scholarship programs that specifically reward high school seniors.
List of local scholarships to get you started
Any high school senior who will be an incoming college freshman student is potentially eligible for these five scholarships offered by local community organizations.
Epsilon Sigma Alpha Foundation — 150 scholarships from $500 – $2,500 (Feb. 1 deadline)
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — two scholarships at $2,000, renewable for two years (March 1 deadline)
Washington State PTA — multiple scholarships from $1,000 – $2,000 (March 1 deadline)
Ewing C. Kelly — multiple scholarships at $2,500 (March 11 deadline)
The Rotary Club of Issaquah — multiple scholarships at $1,000 (March 31 deadline)