Could you or your children go to college tuition-free in Washington state?
A bill awaiting the governor’s signature could greatly cut the cost of earning a degree for families at or below the median income — for a family of four, that’s about $92,000.
The Workforce Education Investment Act will pay for a portion or all of the tuition at 66 public and private two- and four-year schools, and it’s expected to help about 110,000 students go to college each year. Washington residents who don’t already have a bachelor’s degree will be eligible, meaning some adults who never went to college or didn’t finish a degree could go — or go back — to school.
The bill attempts to avoid the pitfalls of many other so-called “college promise” programs by targeting aid to students who need it the most, rather than offering a blanket promise of free college to all. Some experts have called it one of the most progressive higher-education funding bills in the country.
A bill this sweeping in scope — 97 pages long, and passed at the very end of the session — is leaving readers (and reporters) with lots of questions. Here are a few we have: Who’s paying for this, and could it cause the cost of certain goods and services to increase? How can a family figure out today if they’ll be eligible for free tuition in 2020? Would it be wise to take a gap year until fall 2020, when more of the money will become available?
We’re interested in hearing what’s on your mind, too. Use the form below to send us your questions, and we’ll find the answers.