WSU regents consider freezing tuition again

Cash-strapped students welcome news that fee may stay flat for 2nd year

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The Washington State University Board of Regents will consider freezing all tuition rates for the second straight year when it meets in Pullman this week.

The board will meet for two days beginning today with a vote on the tuition freeze scheduled Friday morning, school officials said.

Regents agreed earlier this spring to not increase resident undergraduate tuition, but Friday’s decision could extend that to all students.

Students at WSU Tri-Cities welcomed news of stable tuition costs, which they said would help them stay in school.

“Anything they can do to take the burden off me is great and I really appreciate it,” said junior Joe Jensen.

College tuition in Washington increased dramatically after the recession cut into state tax dollars, limiting funding for higher education. WSU’s tuition increased by 81 percent between the 2007-08 school year and 2012-13 school year.

The regents planned last year to raise tuition by no more than 2 percent for the current 2013-14 school but even that wasn’t necessary after the Legislature provided tens of millions of dollars in additional funding to the state’s public universities. It was the first time since 1986 that tuition at WSU hadn’t increased.

Many students at the Richland campus are not traditional students, said junior and student body President Jose Magana. They have full-time jobs and families to support and any help they can get to make ends meet is appreciated, he said.

“Students decide to pursue higher education at great financial costs,” said Magana, who is studying electrical engineering. “The fact that WSU regents are considering a tuition freeze for a second time is a win in itself. The ultimate victory for students would be a tuition freeze pass by WSU regents.”

Jensen said his loans already are in default and he’s paying full dollar for his time at WSU Tri-Cities, making any savings crucial for the digital technology and culture student.

Quyen Tran, also a junior studying digital technology and culture, said she transferred to the Richland campus because of the lower costs and was satisfied with her decision. The regents deciding to freeze tuition would make her senior year that much easier.