Tuition flexibility may help Wash. colleges

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SEATTLE (AP) -- There's a very good reason Washington's university presidents aren't tearing down the governor's door this week to complain about a proposed half billion dollar cut in state dollars for the state's colleges and universities over the next two years. And it has nothing to do with not wanting the public to see them cry.

They know the real people who should be crying are Washington parents who plan to send their children to college over the next few years.

The state budget deal announced by lawmakers on Tuesday is based on annual tuition increases ranging from 11 to 13 percent, depending on the school. But that's only half the story. Legislators have also approved an historic bill that will let the state's six, 4-year colleges and universities set their own tuition, so for the first time, tuition guidelines from the Legislature are just suggestions.