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Potential tuition increases may affect Western

After two years of tuition decreasing, it may be time for an increase.

In the upcoming 2017-18 academic year, the price of tuition could increase by 2.1 percent. The tuition increase is in response to the annual percentage change in Washington state’s median hourly income over the past 14 years, according to documents released by Annie Pennucci, from the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.

“That is really terrifying,” Kaelyn King, a public relations senior, said. “I feel like it is already high enough, and if it keeps rising then it will make it harder for more and more people to start going to school.”

State legislature reduced tuition of public resident undergraduate students by 5 percent in 2015 and this year’s tuition was reduced to 20 percent.

Before the tuition decrease set forth by the Washington legislature, tuition was on a steep increase. Tuition in Washington state more than doubled between 2001 and 2012, with the largest increases happening after the 2008-09 academic year. The tuition increases only stopped after the Washington legislature on tuition fees was established.

“I feel like it is already high enough, and if it keeps rising then it will make it harder for more and more people to start going to school.”

Kaelyn King

“The university has not decided if they are going to adopt the 2.1 percent increase,” Bryce Hammer, Western’s Associated Students vice president for governmental affairs, said. “They haven’t decided what they would do with it. Based on other schools like Central Washington University, I would say they would likely put it toward staff and faculty salary increases.”

“The board of trustees is ultimately the people who set the tuition rates for the year,” Hammer said.

The process to determine if the tuition increase will occur or not has not started. The session is scheduled to end by April 23, but in the past the decision making processes have continued past the scheduled end date until June, according to Steve Swan, vice president of university relations.

“I think it would make it harder for a lot of people to go to school,” senior Kailey Mills, a linguistics major, said when discussing the potential for a tuition increase. “Personally I have my tuition paid through the (Veterans Association) for the next two years, but I know my first two quarters here, it was extremely hard to pay for tuition. If it was more expensive, I might have not been able to go to school.”

To join in the process, students can directly contact the administration about their preferences, voice their opinions to the Associated Students or join the Associated Students on a trip to Olympia to lobby legislators directly.

“If (students) want to do the lobbying, there’s a couple different ways they could do it. They could find our application to go to Western Lobby Day on orgsync, they can come directly to the AS and I can help them out, they can also just google it,” Hammer said.

Western Lobby Day is on Monday, Jan. 15, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2017, and registration for the event ends Saturday, Dec. 10.


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