By Dustin Weeden and Zoe Gibson
After decades of watching tuition continually rise faster than inflation, students in Washington and Minnesota will experience something new over the next two years: tuition reduction.
The Washington Legislature agreed on a budget that will reduce tuition between 5 and 20 percent at all public colleges and universities over the next two years.
Beginning this fall, all Washington residents will experience an initial 5 percent tuition reduction. For the 2016-2017 academic year, tuition at the large research universities will be lowered by an additional 10 percent and tuition at the regional four-year universities will be lowered by an additional 15 percent.
For students attending community colleges, tuition will be reduced by 5 percent this year and frozen at that level for next year. In addition, future tuition increases—beginning in 2017—will be linked to changes in the median family wage. As a result, the price students pay will rise at the same rate as the ability of families to pay.
Unlike in Washington, only Minnesotans attending community colleges will benefit from a tuition reduction. For the 2015-16 academic year, community college tuition will be frozen at current levels. Then for the 2016-17 academic year, tuition will be lowered by 1 percent.
Dustin Weeden is a policy specialist and Zoe Gibson is an intern in NCSL's education program.