State legislature makes historic investments in community college students

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The 2019 Legislative Session ended on Sunday, April 28, 2019, with a historic investment in public higher education and an expansion of financial aid for low- and middle-income students.

Most significantly, the Legislature passed the Workforce Education Investment Act (WEIA), creating the state’s first-ever dedicated higher education fund. Among other things, this legislation makes public colleges and apprenticeships tuition-free for families of four earning less than $50,000 per year and provides partial tuition scholarships for families earning up to the state’s median income. It also supports the implementation of Guided Pathways at the state’s community colleges and expands education in high-demand fields like engineering, nursing, and computer science.

“We are thrilled that the Legislature made our students a priority this session,” said SPSCC president Dr. Timothy Stokes. “Their actions will have immediate and long-lasting impacts. They are ensuring that not only can more students access high quality education, but that once they’re here, they will have the support they need to stay on track and earn their degree.” 

In addition, the Legislature also designated funding to assist public college students experiencing homelessness, drive compensation increases to support hiring and retention of top-tier candidates for faculty and administrative positions, and shore up operational funding for public colleges and universities.

“These actions are a long-term investment in our state’s economy. Washington’s community and technical colleges help students of all ages and backgrounds find pathways to the careers that drive our local economies,” added Stokes. “More graduates means more employees ready to fill jobs in high-demand fields like nursing, manufacturing, and information technology.”

SPSCC extends its gratitude to local legislators from Districts 2, 20, and 35, with special appreciation for District 22 Representatives Beth Doglio and Laurie Dolan and Senator Sam Hunt for their support of these outcomes.

A raised walkway over Percival Creek