The legislation to give tuition waivers to dependents of disabled and deceased veterans was flawed in a way not emphasized in the article “Her own battle” (Aug. 31).
Who pays for these tuition waivers? It is a fine act of patriotism for Sen. Mike Hewitt to author the legislation and for the Legislature to unanimously pass it, but what they did not include was funding. Colleges and universities are left to pay for it on their own. It’s a little like going into a bar, offering free beer to all the veterans, then sticking the bar with the bill – except this has the force of law.
I suppose Hewitt and others in Olympia would say that because of the budget crisis, the Legislature can’t afford to pay for such patriotic gestures. And what are the community colleges and the universities supposed to do, be unpatriotic and deny these waivers? It’s a no-win situation for these institutions.
Who gets stuck with the bill? Students whose tuition was increased again in the 7 percent to 14 percent range. Or the cost comes out of programs already underfunded. Here’s a message to the Legislature: If you think the waivers are worthwhile, fund them.