Gov. signs bill to raise college tuition in WA

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a measure giving state's six four-year colleges and universities ability to set tuition.

At the bill signing ceremony at a Seattle high school Monday, The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. also announced that they would each pledge $25 million over the next five years to a new scholarship program and endowment which Gregoire also signed into law Monday.

Gregoire says the first scholarships would be available later this year.

Previously, tuition had been set by the Legislature. The transfer of authority to schools is meant to offset state budget cuts for higher education. Washington State University, for one, is poised to hike tuition 16 percent for the 2011-12 academic year.