Letters to the Editor

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HIGHER ED: Bill is bad for worker retraining

Letter by Jeremy Thurston, Seattle on March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm | No Comments »
March 28, 2011 2:34 pm

Re: “Undergrads in overtime: Move on or pay up” (editorial, 3-21).

The editorial about state Sen. Rodney Tom’s SB 5868, which would require students with prior bachelor’s degrees to pay increased tuition, is misguided. This bill would hurt older students in school for worker retraining the most.

I have a 10-year old bachelor’s degree, work full time and am in the midst of taking eight nursing prerequisites one class at a time. According to the fiscal note attached to the bill, I would see my tuition triple to almost $1,500 per five-credit class. If this bill passes, I won’t be able to afford school.

In the modern work world, a bachelor’s degree is not the panacea it once was, and the way to increasing skills doesn’t always lead straight to a graduate degree. Washington must have a nimble workforce to compete. The negligible amount of money this bill would save in the short term would certainly be dwarfed by the loss of tax revenue over the long term as workers are unable to afford to retrain as part of an effort to adapt to economic changes and earn higher wages.

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