As part of a supplemental budget compromise, the state Legislature decided to further defund the state university system with a whopping $25 million cut to the state need grant. Thousands of students across the state depend upon this grant to attend school, and this is the latest in a string of cuts to the higher education system in this state – cuts that have left students running for out-of-state colleges or avoiding school altogether.
In 2007, Washington was ranked as the fourth-worst state in the nation for college enrollment of 18- to 24-year-olds, while being the fourth-highest state in the country for net importation of bachelor- degree-holding 22- to 39-year-olds. And these were GOOD times, before the economic recession and massive budget cuts that have marked the last four years.
As an Eastern Washington University student, I’ve seen my tuition rise nearly 50 percent in that span of time. Education is the best way to beat a recession, and the state of Washington is shooting itself in the foot when it makes cuts to programs like these; an educated population earns more, spends more and stimulates the economy. Education cuts need to end, or Washington will continue to fall behind.