Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: tuition


Behind high tuitions, there’s $2.4 billion in financial aid

There’s bad news for would-be college students, then good news, then more bad news. Stick with us.

The bad – for most Washington students – is the new round of steep tuition increases headed their way. Earlier this month, Washington State University approved its second consecutive 16 percent increase, which will raise the price of next year’s schooling by $1,500.

The University of Washington also looks headed for a 16 percent increase; the UW and WSU will each cost something north of $11,000 in 2012-2013. Tuition will be lower at other public universities and lower still at community and technical

Read more »


Lawmakers: Get radical about funding higher ed

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

There’s so much talk in Olympia right now about de-funding public colleges, it’s good to see some serious people figuring out how to fund them.

The governor’s higher education funding task force – a group of business and higher ed leaders that’s been wrestling with the issue since July – came out with some weighty recommendations Wednesday. State lawmakers ought to study them closely and act on them by the time they go home in a few months.

Yes, the budget distress will necessarily dominate the session; that’s exactly why Washington’s college system needs urgent attention, too.

The state’s traditional approach to subsidizing college opportunity is broken and getting more broken. Neither taxpayers nor lawmakers have been willing to finance college for today’s students the way the World War II generation financed college for the Baby Boomers.
Read more »


Weekend roundup of state editorial pages

Some of the more interesting fodder from the weekend’s editorial pages:

• The Spokesman-Review criticizes Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle for vetoing a bill to give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples. “Exaggeration and fear-mongering are regular features of political campaigns, but wouldn’t it make sense for opponents of equal rights in other states to take a look at ours to see what has happened? … In reality, the extension of rights and benefits to all citizens has been quiet and dignified.”

• The Longview Daily News reacts to news that U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., thinks

Read more »


The South Sound has a big stake in Emmert’s successor

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If ever an institution needed to get it right in picking its next leader, the University of Washington does now.
The UW will soon be losing Mark Emmert, its best president in decades. There’s a lot at stake in his replacement, for the state as a whole and also for the South Sound.

Whoever takes his place will walk into a crisis. The Legislature has long been lukewarm about funding higher education, and the recession has given lawmakers ample justification to carve deeply into the UW’s muscle and bone. The threat is becoming existential.

Over the last three years, the Legislature has raised tuition while cutting its support for Washington’s flagship university by a full third. Students are writing bigger checks for skinnier course offerings, larger classes and fewer labs. For the first time, they now pay more than half the cost of their educations – a sharp erosion of a public university’s mission to offer affordable diplomas to those who can’t afford private school tuition.

The best solution, given the scarcity of funding, is to allow the UW and other public colleges to set their own tuition rates – requiring the affluent to pay full freight and offering generous financial aid to students who need it. But lawmakers have refused to cede control of tuition, preferring to impose across-the-board increases on rich and poor alike.
Read more »


State colleges can’t afford bargain tuition

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Make no mistake: No matter what the Legislature does this year regarding funding for Washington’s public universities, students will pay a price.

State coffers simply don’t have the money to hold higher education harmless. Lawmakers must decide between sacrificing bargain tuition or educational quality.

The right choice is clear. True college opportunity depends on strong colleges. Giving top schools more leeway to price themselves will help ensure that students continue to get the classes they need and the rigor they deserve.

Without that flexibility, universities are at the mercy of the state budget – and the outlook is alarming. Students once paid a third of the cost of their education; now they pay more than half. The current $2.8 billion shortfall is likely to further the trend of declining state support.

Read more »


Let state colleges raise tuition AND financial aid

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Washington’s public universities can offer low tuition, excellent education and ample financial aid. The problem is, they can’t offer all three at the same time – not now, not during this revenue crisis.

One of the three has to give. It ought to be the bargain tuition the system has traditionally charged all comers, including students from the state’s wealthiest families.

State Sen. Derek Kilmer, the Gig Harbor Democrat who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, has the right approach: a bill that would give the universities more leeway in raising tuition while demanding that they offer generous financial assistance to the needy and much of the middle class.

With the Legislature giving higher education an ever-diminishing share of the state operating budget – and with the present fiscal crisis threatening to make things far worse – Senate Bill 6562 has become a necessity.
Read more »