The Washington state Department of Licensing has subbed out the testing for driving permits and first-time licenses to various privately owned driver training schools. The public is virtually unaware of this taking place.
It now costs $80 just in fees to the DOL ($35 application fee and $45 licensing fee) to get a Washington state driver's license, whereas before it was much less if you took the permit and driver's test together.
The driver's school we went through charged $20 for the written test, $35 for the drivers test, and then you have to still go to DOL for your actual license and pay those fees. If you want a driving permit, you need to pay an additional $25 application fee to the state.
This is so unfair to the public. The private driving schools appear to be at liberty to charge whatever fee they choose.