Archive of Recent Media Coverage
- College Leaders Pen Joint Letter Affirming Commitment to Sexual Violence Prevention, Safe Environments | November 16, 2018
- Private Nonprofit Colleges and Universities Support High School Assessment | April 19, 2018
- Independent Colleges of Washington Names Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD, Next President and Chief Executive Officer: Press Release | April 16, 2018
- Violet A. Boyer presented Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award: Press Release | April 11, 2018
- Dino Rossi presented advocacy award by ICW: Press Release | April 9, 2018
- Violet A. Boyer, longtime champion for quality education for all students, announces retirement: Press Release | December 27, 2017
- ICW awarded the 2017 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award to Gov. Jay Inslee: Press Release | December 14, 2017
- Statewide Higher Education Association Receives Grant to Address Attainment and Equity: Press Release | October 25, 2017
- Joint Higher Education Sector Statement on DACA | September 5, 2018
- University of Puget Sound: “Puget Sound Energy and ICW back an energy efficiency project that uses “citizen science” | May 15, 2017
- Tacoma News Tribune Editorial Board: “Don’t skimp on college need grants; expand them” | April 29, 2017
- Letter to The Chronicle: “Letter: The Value of the State Need Grant” | April 28, 2017
- Stephen V. Sundborg, Ana Mari Cauce, Shouan Pan, Seattle Times: “Fund State Need Grant, the backbone of college aid” | April 17, 2017
- Public News Service: “Students urge full funding of State Need Grants: | March 29, 2017
- Seattle Times Editorial Board: “GPA cutoff has no place in the successful State Need Grant program” | March 1, 2017
- Washington College Students, The Seattle Times: “Fund the State Need Grant – we are worth the investment” | February 24, 2017
- The Olympian Editorial Board: “State Need Grant deserves a boost” | November 29, 2016
- David Frockt, The Seattle Times: “Access to higher education is a public good” | September 8, 2016
- Puget Sound Business Journal Editors: “Give a kid a chance: fund aid programs” | November 21, 2014
- Thayne McCulloh and Beck Taylor, The Spokesman Review: “Colleges need support building vital workforce” | April 20, 2014
- John Bassett, Yakima Herald: “Higher education must be more accessible and affordable” | April 13, 2014
- Roy Heynderickx, The Olympian: “State must find more money for higher education” | March 25, 2014
- Tom Fitzsimmons, The Seattle Times: “Improving higher education in Washington” | September 23, 2013
- Roy Heynderickx, The Olympian: “Lawmakers must not short-shrift higher ed”
- Neal Piliavin, Seattle Times: “Fund more math and science degrees”
- George Bridges, Seattle Times: “Focus funding on the student in higher education” | January 27, 2013
- Violet Boyer, Tacoma News-Tribune: “Private colleges are affordable and diverse” | June 8, 2012
- Ronald Thomas, The Spokesman-Review: “College Is Still Our Best Hope” | June 2, 2012
- George Bridges, The Seattle Times: “Create opportunities for access and success at Washington’s colleges and universities” | March 30, 2012
- Deborah B. Cushing, Seattle Times: “Investing in students is the way to help our economy”
- Loren Anderson and Ronald Thomas, The Tacoma News Tribune: “The one thing the state really can’t afford” | February 22, 2011
- Thayne McCulloh and Bill Robinson, The Spokane Spokesman-Review: “Student Aid funding critical” | February 26, 2010
- Roy F. Heynderickx, The Olympian: “Slashing financial aid imperils higher education and economic growth” | February 07, 2010
- Ronald R. Thomas, Rodolfo Arévalo and Charlie Earl, Seattle Times: Avoid catastrophe: Don’t cut Washington’s higher-education funding any more | December 7, 2009
- Todd Ruberg, Puget Sound Business Journal: ” Higher ed in Washington needs more support” | July 24, 2009
- Rodney Proctor, Puget Sound Business Journal: ” Private college: Still a bargain for some” | May 15, 2009
- DeLona Lang Bell, Walla Walla Union Bulletin: “Private colleges help taxpayers, deserve equal student aid funding” | January 26, 2009
- ICW College Presidents, Seattle Times: “Don’t Backslide on Higher Education” | December 1, 2008
Why are articles stored in text format on this page? Links to articles on newspaper websites frequently change, and there have been instances of articles ‘disappearing’ from the web. Please visit the newspaper sites linked below for the original version.
College Leaders Pen Joint Letter Affirming Commitment to Sexual Violence Prevention, Safe Environments
November 16, 2018
Our country is currently in the midst of difficult but important conversations about sexual harassment and violence. As leaders of Washington’s 50 major public and private, not-for-profit colleges and universities, we reaffirm our commitment to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff and to creating an inclusive educational environment where every student has the opportunity to be successful.
Students cannot benefit from, and faculty and staff cannot deliver, high-quality education if their personal safety and well-being are being violated. Therefore, together we will continue to prioritize sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention and response efforts on our campuses. This includes assessing our community members to gauge the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault on campuses, as well as their knowledge of available resources; improving collaboration on campus sexual violence issues among institutions of higher education and between institutions of higher education and law enforcement; regularly reviewing and updating our individual conduct codes and adjudication processes; providing training about sex and gender-based harassment and violence and trauma-informed response information; and taking into account relevant due and fair process considerations for members of our campus communities while learning from our colleagues who are addressing these issues through student- and administrative-led activities.
The result of these efforts, as well as greater societal attention to this issue, has been an increase in the number of individuals—students and employees—who report having been victimized. We must continue to foster a climate where all individuals feel safe seeking assistance, and can expect a fair and equitable response to their concerns.
We know there remains more work to do. Investigation and prevention efforts are resource-intensive and require on-going training; our campus needs vary by institution. We continue to learn from each other about what efforts are most effective so that we can offer cost-effective, evidence-based services and programs, and we remain committed to fair, equitable and timely investigations when complaints are received.
Colleges and universities are places of learning and discovery that lead to the promotion and advancement of knowledge that benefits us all. It remains our goal to create a safe learning environment for everyone in our communities.
President James Gaudino, Central Washington University
President Mary Cullinan, Eastern Washington University
President George Bridges, The Evergreen State College
President Ana Mari Cauce, University of Washington
President Kirk Schulz, Washington State University
President Sabah Randhawa, Western Washington University
President Thayne M. McCulloh, Gonzaga University
President Andrew C. Sund, Heritage University
Acting President Allan Belton, Pacific Lutheran University
President Roy F. Heynderickx, Saint Martin’s University
President Daniel J. Martin, Seattle Pacific University
President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Seattle University
President Isiaah Crawford, University of Puget Sound
President John McVay, Walla Walla University
President Kathleen M. Murray, Whitman College
President Beck A. Taylor, Whitworth University
Jan Yoshiwara, Executive Director, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
Robert K. Knight, President, Washington Association of Community & Technical Colleges
Washington’s private nonprofit colleges and universities recognize the value of measuring a student’s educational progress and strongly support multiple high-quality pathways to a degree with an emphasis on the role and value of learning as students move through high school. To best prepare for college, students should take full advantage of the comprehensive options available to them throughout their high school career by pursuing the most rigorous curriculum for which they are ready and qualified to undertake.
Washington’s 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment provides students and families the opportunity to determine whether a student is meeting educational expectations that align with their educational goals. It also provides families and students an early indication of whether a student is on a path towards college preparation and what to do to be prepared for college after high school graduation. This opportunity allows students and schools to take responsibility for next steps to ensure that a student is successful.
Level 3 or 4 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts Students who earn a Level 3 or 4 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts indicates that a student is on a path towards college preparation. To prepare for college after high school graduation, students should complete the minimum admission standards for Washington’s baccalaureate institutions, which include but are not limited to, the following mathematics & English requirements:
- Three years of mathematics to include at a minimum:
- – Algebra II or higher
- We strongly encourage math-based quantitative course in the 12th grade
- Three years of mathematics to include at a minimum:
- English language arts
- Four years of English to include at a minimum:
- Three credits of college preparatory coursework including literature and composition
- One credit of elective English
- Four years of English to include at a minimum:
Level 1 or 2 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts A Level 1 or 2 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts indicates that a student may need additional work on certain skills and knowledge to be on a path towards college preparation. To prepare for college after high school graduation, students should work with teachers and counselors to identify gaps and develop a plan to meet the student’s educational goals.
Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, Gonzaga University
Kazuhiro Sonoda, Heritage University
Joanna Gregson, Pacific Lutheran University
Kate Boyle, Saint Martin’s University
Jeff Van Duzer, Seattle Pacific University
Robert Dullea, Seattle Universtiy
Kristine Bartanen, University of Puget Sound
Volker Henning, Walla Walla University
Alzada Tipton, Whitman College
Caroline Simon,Whitworth University
Independent Colleges of Washington Names Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD, Next President and Chief Executive Officer
Washington’s 10 Private Colleges and Universities Well-Positioned to Partner with State, Industry and Supporters to Produce More College Graduates for Burgeoning Fields and Community Needs
Seattle, April 16, 2018 – Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD, vice president of public affairs for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) in New York, has been selected following a national search as the next president and chief executive officer of Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW). ICW’s current president, Violet A. Boyer, will retire June 30 after 20 years leading the organization.
Standish-Kuon’s appointment was made official earlier this month at a meeting of ICW’s board of directors, which unanimously approved the recommendation of the search committee formed to choose Boyer’s successor.
“On behalf of the entire ICW family, I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Standish-Kuon to Washington,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and chair of the ICW board of directors. “Throughout the search process, Terri consistently articulated a positive and forward-looking vision for the role of independent colleges and universities in our state, and the impact that our graduates have in creating the inclusive community and economic prosperity Washington aspires to. Terri has the experience, passion and vision to lead ICW for many years to come.”
Roy F. Heynderickx, president of Saint Martin’s University and chair of the ICW presidential search committee, added, “For more than 60 years, ICW has promoted educational opportunity, choice and success for students. Terri Standish-Kuon brings exceptional skills, education and deep policy experience to lead ICW and continue this tradition. We look forward to welcoming her to the great state of Washington.”
Standish-Kuon has served for more than 25 years with the CICU in New York and has a deep knowledge of higher education public policy, especially the value of independent higher education. In her current role as vice president of public affairs, Standish-Kuon leads a team focused on research, policy analysis, government relations and communications. She recently completed a term on the board of the State-National Information Network, an affiliate of the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives.
From 2002-14, as the CICU’s vice president of communications and administration, Standish-Kuon focused on federal issues; designing and executing grass-roots advocacy strategies; directing internal and external communications; and working with the CICU president to monitor a $3 million operating budget.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to join ICW, especially now. As Washington state’s leaders and the nation think about who goes to college and how we can best ensure the talent pipeline that we need to support business and industry and the essential work of local communities, it will be my great privilege to join ICW’s college presidents and a committed, engaged Board from the corporate sector in offering a partnership to Governor Inslee, the state legislature, Washington’s Congressional delegation, and our public 2-year and 4-year higher education colleagues. Together we will find the creative solutions that ensure we are prepared for a positive future,” Standish-Kuon said.
“What’s more, it is a privilege to continue Vi Boyer’s extraordinary commitment to equity, ensuring that students are able to choose their ideal college environment. Student choice and access is essential to getting all students—including new majority, first-generation, returning adults, low-income, and underrepresented youth—across the finish line to graduation, prepared to contribute their talents to the state, the nation and the world. I look forward to working with ICW’s scholarship and program funders to give students the support they need to pursue their higher education aspirations,” Standish-Kuon said.
Standish-Kuon will begin her role as president and CEO of ICW in July, leading the nonprofit in its efforts to reinforce the importance of higher education and postsecondary attainment goals in the state of Washington and raising awareness about the essential role that private, liberal arts-based colleges and universities play in the overall quality and diversity of Washington’s higher education landscape.
She has served on several boards, published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at numerous conferences. As an adjunct faculty member, she has taught “Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” a course for undergraduates and graduate students emphasizing creativity, opportunity recognition and the start of the entrepreneurial process.
Retiring ICW president Violet Boyer added, “I am thrilled that Terri is going to lead ICW. I have worked with her for 25 years and have found her to be a very thoughtful and strategic colleague. She will take ICW to new levels of engagement.”
Standish-Kuon holds a PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, master’s degrees from the University at Albany and from The Sage Colleges, and a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Seattle, WA, April 11, 2018 – Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), the statewide service association of the 10 private non-profit colleges and universities, awards retiring ICW President and CEO Violet A. Boyer with the Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award.
“Since joining ICW in 1998, Vi’s leadership on equity and educational attainment has helped increase aid available to students, assuring that higher education remains an option for all regardless of economic circumstance,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and ICW board chair. “And the independent sector of higher education in Washington could not have had a more inspirational and effective champion. Vi’s legacy will live on for future generations.”
Boyer has worked tirelessly to increase collaboration across the private and public higher education sectors in Washington, recognizing that the health of Washington’s economy demands a well-educated workforce.
“ICW’s work is central to the future of Washington. I am deeply honored, and a bit surprised, to receive this award,” said Boyer. “I have worked with each of its recipients and it is humbling to be added to this extraordinary list of people and companies that have helped so many students.”
Boyer received the award at a dinner on Monday evening celebrating her 20 years of service to ICW. Speakers included Dr. David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. of Seattle University, Norma Heredia, an ICW scholarship recipient and student at Whitworth University, and Terry Jones, South Sound Market President for U.S. Bank, among others.
Created in 1999, the award is named in honor of visionary director Stanley O. McNaughton, a founder of Independent Colleges of Washington, and awarded once a year to recognize companies, legislators, and leaders that have demonstrated passion for and commitment to Washington’s independent colleges and universities. McNaughton was a consummate leader in the community and dedicated to preparing students for meaningful lives and careers.
McNaughton’s vision laid the foundation for ICW in 1953, and remained a champion for the organization’s mission until his death in 1998.
Previous award recipients include Governor Jay Inslee, Alaska Airlines, and state Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla).
The Board of Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) today presented Dino Rossi with the ICW Outstanding Advocacy Award.
ICW Board Chair and Whitworth University President Beck Taylor said, “Senator Rossi has long been a friend of Independent Colleges of Washington. In his brief return to the State Senate in 2017, he made his presence known by fighting for student aid for all students. The Board of ICW is honored to give him the ICW Outstanding Advocacy Award.”
Senator Rossi received the ICW Stanley O. McNaughton Award at its 50th Anniversary luncheon in 2003 when, as Chair of Ways and Means in a time of tight budgets, he crafted a bipartisan budget with an eye to the future of Washington and a priority on protecting our most vulnerable citizens. That budget provided a strong increase in funding for student aid.
After a hiatus from the state legislature, Rossi returned in 2017 to fill the seat open because of the death of Senator Andy Hill, another advocate for students. Rossi’s work with budget writers on State Need Grant (SNG) funding proved instrumental to increasing student aid to serve more students for the first time in six years and restoring the grant level to students at private nonprofit colleges.
“The Independent Colleges of Washington is an incredible advocate for higher education in Washington State, and I am grateful for its work supporting our students. ICW’s advocacy and work supporting the State Need Grant to ensure that all Washingtonians, regardless of financial status have access to higher education is admirable. I have been proud to support ICW’s work whenever I have been in the legislature,” Rossi said.
The Outstanding Advocacy Award is a periodic award that was established in 2017 to recognize extraordinary advocacy for students at ICW member colleges.
Boyer has been Washington’s pre-eminent leader in protecting and expanding financial aid for all students. In her role as ICW president & CEO, she represents the 10 nonprofit, independent liberal arts colleges in Washington, but her work over the past 30 years has benefited the state’s students in need, regardless of the college they attend.
Boyer has served as ICW’s president and CEO since 1998. Prior to her appointment, Boyer served as assistant vice president for congressional and state relations with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), worked in the U.S. Senate as the legislative director for former Sen. Kent Conrad (D- N.D.), and was an administrator in higher education at two independent colleges.
During her career, Boyer has created a central role for the ICW at the state and federal levels. She is consistently called upon to represent independent colleges, serving on numerous task forces and committees, often directly appointed by the Legislature or the Governor.
Boyer has secured more than $16 million in private financial assistance for Washington’s students and has repeatedly led the charge to ensure a high-quality education is available to all students, regardless of income or circumstance.
“Tens of thousands of students have Vi Boyer to thank for her tireless advocacy and accomplishments which have opened more doors to higher education during her distinguished career,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and ICW board chair. “On behalf of the entire ICW board, and the students, faculty, staff, and trustees of Washington’s 10 private, independent colleges and universities, I extend my profound gratitude to Vi for her passionate and effective service. She will be deeply missed,” Taylor added.
Boyer’s many other accomplishments include securing a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that allows trained student constituents from public and private colleges and universities to educate legislators about higher education goals. She’s also responsible for a major increase to the State Need Grant for students at private colleges and universities. Under her leadership, the grant grew from less than $2,500 to $9,500, a nearly 300 percent increase. Boyer also created the Matched Savings Scholarship, or MS2, an innovative, privately funded, need-based financial aid program that pairs resources with eligible students pursuing a college education at one of Washington’s leading independent colleges and universities. She is also responsible for the creation of the ICW Ethics Bowl, an academic enrichment program that culminates in a competition benefiting students from all 10 member colleges and universities.
Boyer’s passion for equality extends beyond the colleges she represents. The ICW board has seen an increase in diversity under Boyer’s leadership, and now includes members from all over the state, and of varied ethnicities. She has spent numerous hours volunteering on key community programs to assist the elderly and the homeless.
Boyer’s outstanding contributions to education were recognized this year by Whitworth University. President Taylor presented her with the university’s Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2016, she was also the recipient of the Champion for the Liberal Arts in Washington State award.
Boyer is currently serving on the Washington Student Achievement Council, is on the Board of The Coalition on College Cost Savings, and represents Washington on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Regional Steering Committee of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Boyer’s last day as ICW president and CEO will be June 30, 2018. A national search for her replacement is currently underway. For additional information on the search for ICW’s next leader, please contact LD Large Consulting at email@example.com.
About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):
Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure the success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.
Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy.
For more information, contact: Kris Gonzales, vice president, Independent Colleges of Washington, (206) 623-4494 or Kris@ICWashington.org
Dec. 14, 2017
Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) awarded the 2017 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award to Gov. Jay Inslee on Dec. 13.
ICW is deeply grateful for Governor Inslee’s bold support for funding the State Need Grant and College Bound Scholarship in his 2017-19 biennial budget proposal. Governor Inslee’s leadership, including a $116 million budget request, resulted in legislative support for including more students in the State Need Grant for the first time in six years. Since the Great Recession, 20-30 percent of eligible students have not received the grant due to a lack of funding.
The State Need Grant is Washington’s primary grant program for low-income students. It allows students to attend the college that fits them best with the grant money following them. Beck Taylor, president of Whitworth University and chair of the ICW Board, noted,” The State Need Grant is central to the success of higher education in Washington and our ability to meet the educational needs of our residents. We are grateful to the governor for his leadership.”
“Fully funding the State Need Grant is critical to our economic future,” said Terry Jones, ICW Board vice chair and South Sound market president for U.S. Bank. “The State Need Grant will help support vibrant communities that allow every student to work toward their future and provide businesses with the talents we need.”
Created in 1999, this award was named in honor of visionary director Stanley O. McNaughton, a founder of Independent Colleges of Washington. He was a consummate leader in the community and a tireless advocate for independent higher education. His vision laid the foundation for ICW in 1953, and he remained a strong voice in support of the organization’s mission until his death in 1998. Previous recipients include Alaska Airlines, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and state Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla).
About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):
Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure the success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.
Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seattle, WA, October 25, 2017 – Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), the statewide service association of the 10 private non-profit colleges and universities, is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
ICW will lead a statewide effort to mobilize trained student constituents from public and private, four and two-year college and university campuses to connect and educate legislators about higher education attainment goals, State Need Grant support, and to advance equity in Washington.
“A cohesive, unified student voice is what’s been missing from the higher education attainment tool chest. This grant will fund an 18-month project to organize a common student voice across all campuses,” said Violet A. Boyer, CEO of ICW. Central to this work includes the new majority of students—low income and first-generation students, students of color, and working adults.”
As an integral member of the College Promise Coalition, ICW will work in partnership with the Council of Presidents, the Washington Student Association, the State Board for Technical and Community Colleges (SBCTC), and the College Success Foundation.
The primary outcome of the project is to create an environment for policy change and coordination toward reaching Washington’s legislatively-adopted attainment goal of at least 70% of Washington adults, ages 25-44, have a postsecondary credential by the year 2023.
Jan Yoshiwara, Executive Director of SBCTC shared, “With an expected 720,000 jobs to fill by 2023, this investment is arming enrolled students now to mobilize the workforce of tomorrow. The College Promise Coalition is an important avenue for Washington’s higher education institutions to build common ground around common issues. I applaud Independent Colleges of Washington for taking a leadership role on behalf of all of us.”
About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):
Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.
Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the Association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy.
About the College Promise Coalition:
The College Promise Coalition brings together a diverse array of public, private and non-profit higher education stakeholders and supporters. Coalition members represent Washington State’s public and private four and two-year colleges and universities; students, families, faculty, alumni, education advocates and leaders in business and labor to work collectively to increase higher education attainment in Washington state.
September 5, 2017
The presidents of Washington’s six public baccalaureate college and universities, 34 community and technical colleges, 10 members of the Independent Colleges of Washington, as well as the 10 members of the Washington Student Achievement Council issued the following statement following today’s announcement terminating the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months:
“Today’s announcement leaves us with profound disappointment and pained yet unequivocal resolve to stand up for our students who are among the 800,000 nationwide registered under DACA. These young people are some of the finest and most resilient students at our colleges and universities, often exhibiting unique character forged in the fire of adversity. They overcome major obstacles just to gain and retain eligibility without access to the federal financial assistance needed by so many to help make a college education attainable.
In Washington, all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, are invaluable to the teaching we provide in our classrooms, the research we perform in our labs, and the discoveries we make in medicine. These students and those who came before them are not strangers on our campuses, in our communities, and in our homes. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and our family. They are us.
Our nation’s history has proven that education and service are essential components to sustaining communities and stimulating economic growth in addition to helping create personal success and happiness. Washington’s colleges and universities are working aggressively to produce graduates with degrees in science, business, technology, and medicine and a variety of other high-demand areas of endeavor. Employers in their desperate search for talented young people are already reaching out of state to fill top jobs. DACA graduates are playing and will continue to play an important role in meeting this critical need in the state of Washington. They embody the initiative and resolve that has made the United States of America the most prosperous and innovative country in the world.
This lamentable decision to end DACA threatens to rob us of hundreds of thousands of gifted, hardworking, and dedicated young people who are American in every way but their immigration status. We agree with the many business leaders throughout the country who are urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or legislation that will allow these students to continue to contribute to the global competitive environment.”
On behalf of:
Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, The Evergreen State College, University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, Bates Technical College, Bellevue College, Bellingham Technical College, Big Bend Community College, Cascadia College, Centralia College, Clark College, Clover Park Technical College, Columbia Basin College, Edmonds Community College, Everett Community College, Grays Harbor College, Green River College, Highline College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Lower Columbia College, North Seattle College, Olympic College, Peninsula College, Pierce College, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, Pierce College Puyallup, Renton Technical College, Seattle Central College, Seattle Colleges, Shoreline Community College, Skagit Valley College, South Seattle College, Community Colleges of Spokane, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, Tacoma Community College, Walla Walla Community College, Wenatchee Valley College, Whatcom Community College, Yakima Valley Community College, Gonzaga University, Heritage University, Pacific Lutheran University, Saint Martin’s University, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, Walla Walla University, Whitman College, Whitworth University, Washington Student Achievement Council.
University of Puget Sound, May 11, 2017
TACOMA, Wash. – This is the year for something different in a decade-long research partnership between Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and the state’s college students.
Each year the electric and gas utility and Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) select an innovative student research project that explores ways to use our state’s energy resources more efficiently. In the past the projects chosen for funding—from competing entries by students from ICW member colleges—have been about engineering and science research.
This year a University of Puget Sound student team won the partners over with a research proposal that is all about the “human” side of energy consumption.
“It’s exciting,” said Kris Gonzales, ICW director of development. “There’s some good marketing and business and data components to this student project that complement the nitty-gritty research.”
The team of four Puget Sound students, led by Assistant Professor Amy Fisher, in the Science, Technology, and Society Program, will use a “citizen science” and social media marketing approach to find ways to reduce hot water use at the 12 campus residence halls and eight Greek Life houses. Their strategy includes analyzing the past and present hot water use, soliciting students to collect and analyze their own energy data, surveys and focus groups to probe student habits and thinking, and the creation of a marketing strategy that will help students overcome real or perceived obstacles to energy conservation.
“We’re excited PSE mentors will get a chance to engage with the students throughout the project,” said Shar Kegley, PSE’s outreach coordinator for the project. “Our hope is that energy efficiency is a practice that can be achieved throughout the campus and one that students can take with them even once they graduate.” If the project is a success, it could provide a model for other campuses, she added.
Puget Sound Energy is contributing $10,000 toward the work, while University of Puget Sound is setting a new precedent in the partnership by also contributing another $4,000. For PSE, energy efficiency is both a community service to help customers manage their costs and the least expensive way to feed the region’s growing energy needs, explained Will Chin, PSE energy efficiency outreach manager.
The student research team includes Maya Bittmann ’19 (major: science, technology, and society), Matthew Gulick ’18 (English; environmental policy and decision making), Bjorn Hoffman ’18 (business and leadership), and Shelby Kantner ’18 (science, technology, and society).
After the data collection, the researchers will devise a marketing plan and pilot it in six residence halls in fall 2017, using the other six halls as controls. They will then compare the weekly energy data collected during the first month—while the marketing campaign is underway—as well as for the month and a half following—to see what behavior changes stick— with data collected during the same periods in 2016. The results will be shared with campus and published in a research journal.
Like many U.S. campuses, Puget Sound has tried in the past to reduce energy use by promoting competitions between residence halls, such as the 2016 Battle of the Bulbs. However despite the allure of prizes such as a zero-waste pizza party for the winners, student behavior does not often change on a longer-term basis, researchers have found.
It is hoped this experiment will be more effective by involving student residents in the self-auditing of their own energy use, so they have a clear awareness of their habits and what effect these have, and by helping them set and maintain reasonable energy-use targets.
The project, supported by Puget Sound’s Sustainability Services and Office of the Associate Deans, is one of many efforts that are part of Puget Sound’s “experiential learning” initiative. This “high-impact” learning puts students to work in real-world settings or involves them in hands-on campus projects, with time set aside to reflect upon how such projects align with their academic learning.
Photos on page: From top right: Thomas Hall, a residential living and learning hall; the student researchers, faculty advisers, and representatives from Puget Sound Energy and Independent Colleges of Washington; Trimble Hall, residential and events hall (photos by Ross Mulhausen, University of Puget Sound).
The News Tribune, April 29, 2017
Our region is blessed with a banquet of choices when it comes to higher-ed.
Within a 35-mile radius of downtown Tacoma, there are two technical colleges, a half dozen community colleges, a handful of private and public universities, and dozens of certificate programs ranging from machining and manufacturing to massage therapy.
Despite all these post-secondary opportunities, less than 40 percent of Tacoma School District graduates take advantage and stick with it until the end.
Cost is the big reason. It’s why the state need grant program was established in 1969. Recipients who’ve made it through the post-secondary gantlet will tell you the aid made a life-changing difference.
“It has given me a clear path to the American dream,” Anna Nepomuceno, a North Tacoma mother of three, told our Editorial Board last week. A need grant enabled her to study at Tacoma Community College and will carry her through graduation in June at University of Washington Tacoma.
But since 2007, the state budget has underfunded the program. In 2006, only 2 percent of eligible students were denied a need-based grant; by 2011, some 30 percent of students weren’t getting them. At the same time, Washington was losing ground on college affordability.
An outcry from students, parents, teachers, education administrators and politicians followed, but their voices were disparate and muffled.
Enter the College Promise Coalition. Established in 2011, the advocacy group formed for the purpose of increasing postsecondary enrollment. These leaders in education, business and labor correctly view expanding access to education beyond 12th grade as an investment in Washington’s future.
The Legislature must have heard them, because in 2013 it adopted an ambitious goal: that at least 70 percent of adults in Washington, ages 25-44, would possess a postsecondary credential or degree by 2023.
We applaud the vision. Stable career paths require completing four-year or two-year degrees or vocational training programs.
But reaching that benchmark will take more than a wish list. It will take money.
Which is why, without blinking, the coalition is asking state lawmakers for an additional $200 million to fully fund state need grants over the next two years. That’s a roughly one-third increase over the status quo. It would allow another 24,000 eligible Washingtonians to obtain need grants.
So far, nobody in Olympia is biting. Gov. Jay Inslee proposed an increase of $116 million over the next two years, the House countered with $50 million and the Senate stood pat with a big, fat zero.
Instead, the Senate GOP proposal adds college enrollment slots. Its allocation of $28.9 million over two years would add 1,800 spots at the state’s four-year universities for students of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
If lawmakers must choose between enrollment slots and need grants, the latter should take precedence. More than half of all need grants are used at community and technical colleges. This is where most low-income, minority and first-generation students embark on their education trek.
Need grants are weighted toward the poorest families; there are no merit requirements. If a student belongs to a household earning less than half of the median adjusted gross income (currently $59,000 for a family of four), the student is eligible for a grant covering 96 percent of tuition costs.
Without need grants, options for low-income students are few: They can run up debt, postpone or forgo education, or apply for federal aid or institutional scholarships. Alas, federal aid is on shaky ground, as President Donald Trump proposes slashing Pell Grant funding by $3.9 billion.
The idea that most students can eke out a college payment plan with no outside support, whether from family or a need grant, is about as old as “Leave it to Beaver.” Though it can be done, research shows students who work full-time are at a greater risk of stopping or dropping out.
We’d love to see student need grants funded at 100 percent; the state’s workforce development would be better for it.
At a time of many competing obligations, and with K-12 school topping the list, we can accept where the governor has landed. But the House — and certainly the Senate — don’t go far enough.
April 28, 2017
The cost for attaining a postsecondary certificate, credential, two- or four-year degree is increasingly out of reach for many students. At the same time, the need for a post high school education is critical in order to meet our state’s current and projected skill and educated workforce demands. Without a postsecondary education, it is impossible to participate in today’s economy, support a family, or enjoy the benefits of contributing to a community.
Access to a postsecondary education is directly related to affordability. Thankfully, we have the State Need Grant program to address this issue for eligible low income students. The State Need Grant is the state’s largest aid program, and its reach extends from traditional students to working-age adults.
My name is Patricia J. Gitchel, I am attending Centralia College and I am a recipient of the State Need Grant. I feel very privileged to be able to receive the State Need Grant. The grant helps me cover the costs of tuition, books and related expenses.
The State Need Grant provides me with an opportunity to attain a degree and move forward with my career goals. Through the support I receive from the grant, Centralia College, and TRIO, I am on a path to success. It is difficult to balance school and work obligations. The support I receive from the State Need Grant allows me to focus on my studies, attain a degree, all the while providing greater stability in my life.
The State Need Grant provides the lifeline I need to complete my degree, and give back to the state the investment made in my education. I am one of the lucky ones to receive support from the State Need Grant, many others are not so lucky.
Not all eligible students receive the State Need Grant. These students are incurring debt, holding down part- and full-time jobs, and working hard to balance family, work, and school demands. Without support from the State Need Grant, many will likely drop out, including myself, leaving school with debt. Worse yet, some will make the choice to not attend college, attain a degree, and thus have little opportunity to actively engage in the economy.
Continued support for the State Need Grant will increase access and address affordability. It is critical to improving educational attainment in Washington, while serving first time students, as well as working-age adults. I know, I am one of them, and one who is grateful for the support I receive from the state and Centralia College.
The Seattle Times, April 17, 2017
Ana Mari Cauce, Stephen V. Sundborg and Shouan Pan
Tom Rochat, veteran, native of Poulsbo and trained welder, was hit hard when the economy crashed in late 2007. Desperate to feed his family, and despite bad knees from serving as an Army paratrooper, he took a job doing apartment maintenance.
While working on the building’s roof, he fell four stories, doing further damage to one knee and making manual labor impossible. But Tom’s aptitude with computers led him to apply to University of Washington Tacoma, and financial aid from the state made it possible for him to attend. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in information technology, Tom was hired by the Seattle tech company Avanade, where he has risen to the position of senior specialist.
Tom’s story has a happy ending. Yet too many Washington students don’t get the same opportunity to fulfill their potential. The state Legislature can increase the opportunities for many by fully funding the State Need Grant.
Each year, the State Need Grant benefits tens of thousands of students and families. Created more than 40 years ago, it provides financial assistance to students with household incomes below 70 percent of the state’s median income, currently $59,000 for a family of four. It is available to all Washington students — students like Nayeli Cervantes, who became the first person in her family to attend college when she enrolled at Seattle University, and Kim Hines, who was raised in foster care but was able to use state aid to graduate from Whatcom Community College before transferring to SU to pursue a career in improving foster care. The breadth and flexibility of the State Need Grant has made the program a national model for need-based access programs.
But for years, the State Need Grant has been underfunded by the state. Last year, more than 24,000 eligible students were denied funding. Indeed, every year since 2009, at least a quarter of eligible students have not received grants due to lack of state funding. This means Washington residents who could be earning a degree from one of the state’s community colleges, public or independent universities, and improving their own and their family’s economic prospects, must find other funding options or miss out on opportunities.
This lack of funding hits low-income, minority and first-generation college students in Washington especially hard. Many of these students have no resources to fall back on, so those who do find a way to enroll often struggle to balance school and work. This contributes to higher drop-out rates, which can leave students worse off than never enrolling at all.
Higher education is critical to building a competitive workforce, especially here and now. Our high-tech, innovation-driven economy is creating opportunities for state residents that we are squandering by failing to invest in education. This year, a projected 50,000 jobs in high-demand fields will go unfilled in Washington for lack of qualified applicants.
The State Need Grant is the backbone of financial aid for Washingtonians and provides a path to higher education and opportunities in our dynamic economy.
An additional $100 million a year, less than half of 1 percent of Washington’s annual budget, is needed to serve all 93,000 eligible students who represent communities from across the state — from Colfax to Tacoma, Skagit Valley to Kennewick.
Fulfilling our commitment to these students will also mean leveraging privately raised dollars for targeted investments into other student achievement programs, stretching our limited resources even further. The State Need Grant is a critical resource not only for the individuals it serves but for our entire state.
Empire Press, March 29, 2017
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service
OLYMPIA — Students receiving the State Need Grant are urging the Washington State Legislature to fully fund the grant program so that more students can afford higher education.
Last year, 24,000 students were eligible but did not receive grants because the program wasn’t properly funded.
The State Need Grant makes higher education attainable for people who come from low-income families.
Norma Heredia says she didn’t consider applying to Whitworth University until she heard of this grant. She’s the first in her family to go to college and says it means a lot to her parents.
“Pursuing higher education is one of the ways that my parents can see that their hard work has paid off, and I think that goes for all families in low income,” she states. “So it’s seeing their children prosper and going through that upward mobility.”
Senate Bill 5820, currently before the Rules Committee, would add a grade-point average requirement to the grant. Opponents of this bill argue it might leave more students without aid.
According to a 2014 legislative report, students receiving the grant have a low dropout rate. From 94 to 98 percent of full-time students re-enrolled in the spring.
Last month, grant recipients gathered at the Capitol to speak in front of the Legislature and with lawmakers.
Megan Filippello, a senior at Walla Walla University, was there among more than 150 of her peers. She hopes other students will get to benefit from this program as she has.
“I think it will make a difference to a lot of students in Washington who are like me and who would really benefit from it, and it could make the difference, you know, in whether they go to college or not,” she states.
A bill in the House, HB 1214, would expand need grant recipients by 12,000 students a year beginning in 2022. It has been in the House Committee on Higher Education since January.
The Seattle Times, March 1, 2017
SINCE 1969, the state Legislature has sent generations of low-income students up the educational escalator, offering deep college financial aid for those lucky enough to get it. The State Need Grant is a smart policy with a huge return on investment for 68,000 students now at two- and four-year institutions.
Those students graduate at higher rates than non-supported peers. They are disproportionately (38 percent) students of color. And they universally say they are now prepared for careers.
But the State Need Grant has a significant problem. Because of budget constraints, it is a first-come, first-served policy that reaches only about 70 percent of the eligible students. Currently, more than 24,000 eligible students at state institutions are on a waiting list — losing out on a random and potentially life-changing lottery.
The Legislature has chipped away at the backlog, and this year should try to end it, even at an eye-popping cost of about $100 million.
What the Legislature should not do is impose a GPA cutoff for State Need Grants. A bill, SB 5820, has raced through the Republican-held state Senate with a new 2.5 GPA threshold for Need-Grant aid. Currently, recipients of Need Grants get a special review — and, typically, special counseling at their institution — if they fall below 2.0, but don’t automatically lose their grants.
Sen. John Braun, the Centralia Republican who chairs the Senate budget-writing committee, said at a recent hearing on the bill, “Moving from a 2.0 GPA to a 2.5 does not seem to me to be a gross injustice when we know there are other students with higher GPAs that are not being served.”
It’s a fair question: there probably are higher-performing students on the waiting list. But instead of rationing aid, it should be expanded to include the ones being left behind. Braun has the power to end the waiting list for Need Grants.
There is plenty of evidence that the Need Grant is working as intended, without a GPA cutoff. At all levels of higher education, graduation rates for Need-Grant recipients are higher than for Need Grant-eligible students on the waiting list, according to a study by the state’s Education Research and Data Center. More than 60 percent of State Need Grant recipients enrolled at four-year institutions graduated within five years, comparable to national averages.
Students, researchers, universities and the state’s Council of Presidents, which represents the four-year institutions, have protested the proposed GPA threshold. Up to 7,000 students could stand to lose vital Need Grants. If faced with losing that aid, students may predictably gravitate toward easier classes, avoiding the STEM courses that feed the highest-demand professions.
The Seattle Times, February 24, 2017
By Kalei Gordon (UW Bothell), Megan Filippello (Walla Walla University), Ana Ramirez (Western Washington University), and Norma Heredia (Whitworth University)
STUDENTS from across the state traveled earlier this month to Olympia to advocate for full funding of the Washington State Need Grant. We called it Student Advocacy Day, and more than 150 of us lobbied our legislators.
We came from high schools, private four-year institutions, public research and regional institutions, and community and technical colleges. We spent the day testifying and meeting with legislators to share our personal stories of how the grant has affected the trajectory of our lives. Many legislators said they recognized the significant positive benefit this financial aid program provides for low-income students and the state. But too many remain uncommitted to providing the funding to serve the 24,000 eligible but currently unserved students.
We urge the Legislature to fully fund the State Need Grant so that all eligible students have the opportunity to go to college. The State Need Grant is, simply put, a lifesaver for many students. Without the grant, lower-income students like us could not pursue higher education, or if they do, they struggle to make ends meet, often dropping out before completion.
Many of us are the first in our family to attend college, and our families lack the financial resources to support our education and career dreams. Everyone who has a desire to further their education should have that opportunity; lack of funds should not be the determining factor. Receiving the grant allows us to devote our efforts to our studies, focusing on graduating on time and in good standing. With financial assistance from the state, we are able to thrive.
In addition to receiving the opportunity for higher education to better our lives, the State Need Grant program is a smart investment for the state, as well. Need Grant recipients are a cross-section of the state. We come from every community; we represent all backgrounds, all ethnicities and all areas of study. We are documented and undocumented, first generation, traditional and nontraditional students. We will become Washington’s doctors, educators, engineers, policymakers, and police officers. We are Washington’s future, and we are worth the investment.
Our experiences in Olympia showed us that using our voices as students can have a positive impact. We stand with eligible students who do not receive a grant and ask that they be afforded the same opportunities we have been.
We strongly urge the Legislature to fully fund the Washington State Need Grant. An investment in Washington’s college students is a smart investment in Washington’s future. Without full funding, the grant’s intended reach cannot be fully realized, and real students’ lives will be negatively altered. Funding the State Need Grant will help extend the opportunity for success in higher education to all students regardless of their income. It is the right thing to do for students, and the right thing to do for Washington.
Washington’s universities, community colleges and technical colleges are joining forces on a few common budget goals in the next year. One important focus is on the State Need Grant program.
This valuable piece of Washington’s investment in higher education provides tuition aid to nearly 70,000 low-income students.
Institutions as large as from the University of Washington and as small as those in the community and technical college system are jointly seeking to expand the program to cover all 93,000 eligible students.
Grants for these students represent an investment in the state’s future workforce. Students range from recent high school graduates to older adults.
These also are individuals who otherwise may not receive the academic or workplace training needed to step into the workforce and up the ladder of opportunity.
The catch is the same as ever: cost. To get the program fully funded to cover another 24,000 students would cost about $100 million, according to data kept by the Washington State Student Achievement Council.
But as UW president Ana Mari Cauce told The Olympian Editorial Board recently, “Higher education is the linchpin for the future prosperity of our entire state.”
Cauce added: “We are looking to the state to keep its promise (to students) … To have it be empty is I think the worst of all situations.’’
On the bright side, the region’s economy is growing overall, driven by strong growth in Seattle and central Puget Sound. On the down side, high jobless rates remain in many rural areas.
Also, the cost of fully funding basic education by 2018, which the state Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary case demands, could require a boost of $1.75 billion per year into K-12 alone. And state employees are due for raises.
So the $2.1 billion expected in reserves at the start of the next biennium in July could be eaten up before higher education ever sits down to the table.
Balancing all of these needs won’t be easy. But lawmakers must own up to the challenges faced by higher education and the growing high-tech economy.
That is not to say lawmakers haven’t tried.
After tuition shot up after 2009 to help balance state budgets, the Legislature put a cap on tuition hikes — in 2013. Two sessions ago, led by Senate Republicans, the Legislature made Washington the first state to actually cut tuition.
Democrats including Gov. Jay Inslee eventually embraced the tuition cuts and helped pass them into law, but not before the GOP agreed to include community colleges in the tuition cut.
Importantly, the GOP also agreed to raise new money to help defray the lost tuition dollars.
Gov. Inslee doesn’t put out his budget until after mid-December. But we hope he and the Legislature don’t forget the investment in economic opportunity that is represented by the State Need Grant program.
They also must remember that Washington is still among the lower third of states for tax burden when measured against incomes.
The Seattle Times, September 8, 2017
State Senator David Frockt, 46th District
IT was John F. Kennedy who once told us, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” The recent public spat over who should get credit for Washington’s victory in efforts to reduce college tuition, probably makes voters chuckle at the image of bickering politicians arguing even when something good actually happens.
The truth is Washington students and their families don’t really care who did it and how it came to pass. They are just happy that after years of tuition increases in tight budgets, their elected officials enacted a historic tuition reduction for students at our public universities and community colleges. What people really want to know is: How to keep the positive momentum going?
The good news is that what occurred on college costs can be made even better in the coming legislative session if we put aside the partisanship and work together to extend as many higher-education opportunities as we can while reducing student debt. And it is not a complicated formula.
First, Washington needs to fully fund the State Need Grant; it’s the primary state-based financial-aid program. The award amount was designed to cover nearly all tuition costs at state public colleges and universities. Before the Great Recession, the state kept its promise to pay a significant portion of tuition costs for its neediest students.
In 2006-’07, 97 percent of eligible students (typically from households making less than $60,000 per year) received some award — full or partial. That number fell to 70 percent the following year and has remained roughly there ever since. In practical terms, that means 30,000 students across Washington each year struggle to find some other way to pay for tuition and other educational costs. Fully funding the program is now not only less expensive because of the tuition reduction, but it is also an acknowledgment that we are no longer cutting corners because of the recession.
Second, Washington needs to commit to expanding student eligibility for the State Need Grant so that students with family incomes between $60,000 and $125,000 — the near-middle and middle class — can also obtain state-based financial aid. This is critical because average student loan debt for some graduates can be nearly as high as a first-year starting salary in some fields. If our institutions are truly “public,” this must change.
As is the case with the students who are eligible for — but not receiving — a State Need Grant award, the most common form of aid these students receive is in the form of federally backed or private loans. This is compounded if the student goes to graduate school. Studies show that roughly half of all graduate students took out student loans as an undergrad.
Fully funding the existing program and expanding eligibility to serve students whose families have incomes up to $125,000 could mean that an additional 65,000 to 80,000 students in Washington would receive the grant in some form. This would effectively cover more than 80 percent of Washington families, significantly reducing the amount of student debt that graduates will incur.
Over the last two years, there have been a series of great proposals on higher education at both the state and federal levels. Expanding our State Need Grant, making the additional investments that our public community colleges and universities have requested and continuing to invest in other excellent programs like the Opportunity Scholarship and College Bound would create a new middle-class compact for Washington families and continue to make this state a national leader on the expansion of postsecondary education for our people.
We must consider access to higher education as a broad public good. Public investment in higher education, however, has not kept up with rising costs for the middle class and those who aspire to it. Two years ago we began to turn this around with rare bipartisan consensus. If we want to continue to create political victories with a thousand parents, we should fully fund and expand the State Need Grant in order to reduce college-debt burdens on thousands more Washingtonians.
PSBJ Editorial, Nov 21, 2014
Washington’s looming legislative session will focus heavily on education.
The McCleary ruling will force lawmakers to devise a plan to fully fund K-12 education. They cannot stop there. Lawmakers can make a big statement by also bolstering the State Need Grant program.
The grants provide tuition assistance to students from the state’s lowest-income households to be used at public and private colleges throughout Washington, including community and career colleges.
It’s a great program that’s allowed countless students to attend college in its 43-year history, but it’s underfunded. Last year, almost a third of the more than 100,000 students eligible for the grant were shut out due to lack of funds.
The Student Achievement Council, a state agency, has drafted a modest, reasonable proposal to close the $137 million funding gap: Dedicate $16 million annually through 2023 to fully fund the program. That small amount will cover an additional 4,000 students each year.
Last year, the state set an audacious goal that was widely praised at the time: By 2023, 70 percent of the population should have some form of post-secondary education, a 20 percent increase from today. That won’t just happen without help.
As the council notes, eligible students who can’t receive the grant have higher loan debt and are more likely to work while attending school, which can “adversely affect academic progress and success.” If, that is, they attend at all.
The Spokesman Review. April 20, 2014
Thayne M. Mcculloh And Beck A. Taylor
We applaud the Legislature’s action this session embracing the higher-education attainment goals proposed by the Washington State Student Achievement Council. We also wish to thank Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature on the bill.
These goals are a great first step toward equipping Washington’s higher-education system to find ways to produce many more graduates in the coming years – a necessity if Washington is to meet the demands of its economy and sustain its prosperity and quality of life. Meeting these challenges begins with a commitment by our state to making high-quality higher education accessible to all.
A recent study from Georgetown University predicts that by 2020 our state’s economy will produce approximately 1.2 million job openings, and 40 percent of those will be new jobs. This is good news, but the study warns that nearly 70 percent of these job openings will require at least some postsecondary education. This is an alarming statistic and a compelling call for action.
One way to increase degree production in our state is to call upon all higher education institutions to collaborate more while still maintaining their own unique missions. There is excellent potential for greater coordination, resource-sharing, and innovation by building on our current system.
Examples of progress made so far are Gonzaga University’s online nursing doctorate program, and Whitworth University’s degree-completion programs tailored for working adults.
We must also improve the ways in which we prepare students from our K-12 system to attend and graduate from college. If current trends hold, only 19 percent of Washington’s ninth-graders will receive an associate’s degree or higher. Examples of the good work to boost pursuit of higher education are Spokane Public Schools’ T-2-4 program and the state’s College Bound Scholarship that serves low-income students in the seventh and eighth grades. High school graduation rates for College Bound students are nearly 79 percent, compared to lower than 60 percent for other low-income students.
Washington must commit to a system that provides access to higher education for everyone who desires it. This is a long-term investment that must be maintained if it is to be meaningful. And to keep this promise requires a sustained level of funding that, at a minimum, returns to pre-recession levels. We are thankful that the governor and Legislature have found some additional funding in the recently adopted supplemental budget for helpful programs like College Bound, and initiatives in STEM degrees. But additional funds must be found to grow these programs along with our degree-production capacity.
Currently, more than 32,000 eligible students are not receiving the financial aid they need from the state to go to college. We must find consistent funding to open the door to a positive higher-education experience for these students. This need is even more critical when one considers that student aid is one of the ways of overcoming the huge inequity in educational achievement in this state linked to under-represented racial and ethnic populations.
The estimated price tag for serving these eligible students is about $140 million per year. This is a small price to pay for our state to create a higher-education system that is open to all.
Washington’s network of 10 independent colleges and universities, including Gonzaga and Whitworth, is committed to doing what we can to improve our higher-education system. Collectively, the Independent Colleges of Washington annually confer 20 percent of the college degrees in our state, while ICW students receive only 2 percent of the state’s allocation for financial aid. Despite this, the degree-completion rate for students from Washington’s independent colleges, as a sector, is second in the nation. But we can and must do more.
In this, our 60th anniversary year, ICW institutions have challenged ourselves to work with other higher-education institutions to create a broad-based and sustainable coalition committed to collaborative strategies for transforming the higher-education system in our state. If we’re successful, this coalition will have a profound impact on the future of our youth, our economy and our entire state. We look forward to working with anyone who will join us in this important endeavor.
Heritage University president.
Posted on April 13, 2014
Along with my fellow presidents from the Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), and our public colleagues, I applaud the legislature’s support for the higher education goals proposed by the Student Achievement Council. In its 2013 Roadmap Report, the WSAC set two statewide goals to be achieved by 2023:
1) All adults in Washington, ages 25-44, will have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
2) At least 70 percent of Washington adults, ages 25-44, will have a postsecondary credential.
While Washington excels at importing talent from outside the state, it must improve its college-going rate among its own population. At this time we rank 38th in the country in college-going, and Yakima County is one of the two lowest counties in the state for college attendance. Without major change, only 19 percent of our current ninth-graders will ever receive even an associate’s degree. In our Lower Valley only 6 percent have a bachelor’s degree (in Appalachia that figure is 12 percent; in America, 30 percent). In Yakima County, between a quarter and a half of our children are out of the school system before 12th grade. Clearly we all have work to do.
As the Yakima Herald-Republic showed in a recent editorial, the new College Bound program is already helping to overcome this deficit. College Bound students are graduating at a rate one-third higher than other low-income students. On the other hand, state funding for low-income students remains inadequate to the challenge.
While the total number of students served by State Needs Grants grew by 5.6 percent between 2007 and 2013 the total population of students in need increased by 48.5 percent over the same period. In Washington, last year, some 32,443 low-income students eligible for state need-based scholarships were left without such funding; 1,881 of those were in Yakima County (33 percent of those eligible.)
Students without State Needs Grants are less likely to attend college full-time and for the entire academic year and also less likely to persist and re-enroll the following year. To maximize the potential of our bright young people and of the state economy, we all need to work to excite our youth about going to college and then to help them finance that education.
Along with the six public universities and the community colleges, Heritage University and the Independent Colleges of Washington are committed to work with our local education partners to improve student engagement, student performance, and student success particularly here in the Yakima Valley.
We hope our partners in Olympia in the legislature will find a way in the next budget cycle to make funds available for every ambitious student to attend college and become a key player in our economy and society.
State must find more money for higher education
The board members of the Independent Colleges of Washington applaud the recent action by the Legislature to embrace the higher education attainment goals proposed by the Washington State Student Achievement Council. These goals are a foundational and much-needed commitment to improving college graduation rates in our state.
A recent study from Georgetown University predicts that by 2020 our state’s economy will produce approximately 1.2 million job openings, and 40 percent of those will be new jobs. This is good news, but the study warns that nearly 70 percent of these job openings will require at least some post-secondary education. This is an alarming statistic and a compelling call for action.
We must first better prepare students from our K-12 system to attend and graduate from college. Currently only 19 percent of Washington’s ninth-graders will receive an associate degree or higher. This deficit is unacceptable.
As The Olympian notes in a recent editorial (March 13, 2014: “Give kids a chance”) the College Bound Program is a promising program to overcome this deficit.
We too are thankful that the Legislature and governor fully funded it in the 2014 supplemental budget just adopted. High school graduation rates for College Bound students are nearly 79 percent compared with less than 60 percent for other low-income students.
ICW believes that our state must do much more in the next legislative session to overcome the state’s low college graduation rates. We must commit to a broad system that provides access to higher education for everyone who desires it. This is a promise that must be made and kept.
And to keep this promise requires a sustained level of funding that at a minimum returns to pre-recession levels. We appreciate the current budget constraints of the state. But getting ready for the next biennial budget, legislative leaders must find additional resources for education.
Currently, about 32,000 eligible students are not receiving the financial aid they need from the state to go to college. We must find consistent funding to open the door to a higher education experience for these students.
This need is even more critical when one considers that student aid is one of the ways of overcoming the huge inequity in educational achievement in this state linked to underrepresented racial and ethnic populations.
Washington’s network of 10 independent colleges and universities, including Saint Martin’s University, is committed to work with our local education partners including here in the South Sound doing what we can to improve our K-12 and higher education system.
Collectively, members of the Independent Colleges of Washington confer 20 percent of the baccalaureate college degrees in our state while receiving only 2 percent of the state’s higher education budget. Of students who start at Washington’s private nonprofit colleges, 92 percent complete within six years.
This rate is the fourth in the nation compared with all other sectors. But we can and must do more.
In this, our 60th anniversary year, ICW institutions have challenged ourselves to work with other higher education institutions to create a broad-based and sustainable coalition committed to collaborative strategies for transforming the higher education system in our state.
We must do more
Regarding Katherine Long’s article on in-state students and top faculty at the University of Washington, and The Times editorial on improving the UW, we absolutely agree! [“Report wants UW to step up role as ‘engine for economic growth,’” NW Thursday, Sept. 12, and “Editorial: Good ideas to make the UW a stronger powerhouse,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]
Higher education is the key to Washington’s future. We applaud this broad plan addressing research, state funding to sustain education quality, financial aid, family contributions and philanthropy.
We agree Washington must do more. Clearly the UW is central to that, but it does not do this work alone. Higher education in our state is a system, and must be dealt with as one.
For Washington to have the future we all want, we also need strong community and technical colleges, other quality public baccalaureates and independent colleges. We need every college in the state fully recognized, supported and empowered.
We need to provide incentives for innovation and enrollment growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and fund programs in critical thinking and communication.
We must fully fund financial aid to make sure the doors to a higher education remain open for all Washingtonians. The Independent Colleges of Washington stands ready as a partner in this endeavor.
As lawmakers negotiate a final compromise state budget for the next two years, they will be focused on many issues, from taxes and K-12 education spending to social services and the rainy day fund. Critical as all these issues are, we urge legislators also pay close attention to higher-education budget issues.
The House and Senate budgets should be applauded for providing significant funding for the College Bound Scholarship program. The College Bound program offers scholarships to needy students who sign up in middle school. Preliminary data suggest College Bound students are graduating from high school at higher rates than other students.
One issue that has received scant attention in current budget plans are the 32,000 low-income college students who qualify for the largest financial aid program (State Need Grant) but are not receiving grants because of a shortage of funds. These students are striving valiantly both to succeed in their studies and to find ways of financing their educations. We know because 29 percent of the eligible students at our ten colleges, and 28 percent at Saint Martin’s University, are not receiving state grants.
Within the State Need Grant program, another issue of great concern to our students is the disparity between our students’ awards and those granted to students at public research universities. Students at our colleges, who got the same grant as students at the University of Washington and Washington State University for over a decade prior to 2011, now receive $2,350 less per year. The House budget would make that inequitable disparity even larger.
Students at independent non-profit colleges saw tuition rise nearly as much as tuition rose at UW and WSU over the past two years. But the state chose to ignore the tuition increases at our colleges, providing instead for an increase of just 3.5 percent of tuition at the public research universities. We are asking the state to equalize these awards over the next four years. Under the terms of the Senate budget, this would require an increase of less than one percent in program funding.
Equity should be as important to lawmakers as it is for our students. Our students return value for the state. A recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse reveals that students enrolling as freshmen at private four-year colleges in Washington have an 82 percent graduation rate. That’s the highest graduation rate for any college sector in any state in the nation except for the District of Columbia.
Our independent nonprofit colleges enroll tens of thousands of Washington residents, 31 percent of whom qualify as low income. Since our colleges do not receive state support, we provide access to higher education at relatively low cost to the state — the state pays only for financial aid for our needy resident students. This is how we produce one in five bachelor’s and advanced degrees awarded in Washington with just 2 percent of the state’s higher education budget.
Public colleges need adequate funding to continue offering access to high-quality higher education. We are concerned about the cumulative impact of several years of big cuts in state funding for public colleges. A recent report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) found that Washington was among the handful of states that have cut the most out of their higher education budgets since the arrival of the Great Recession. Restoring some of these reductions is likely necessary.
Finally, we note that where the budget proposals are putting new funding into higher education, it is notably for narrowly focused efforts, such as engineering. We are strong advocates of engineering — as is shown, for example, by the brand-new engineering building we just opened at Saint Martin’s University, Cebula Hall. Yet we hope lawmakers will not prioritize a few majors at the expense of the colleges and universities as a whole. According to a recent national survey of business leaders, 93 percent say, “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.” Employers seek in future employees those qualities which are the hallmark of a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences.
We don’t envy legislators the difficult work they face negotiating a final budget. But we do sincerely hope that as they do so, they will put higher education at the core of our strategy for building a vibrant economy and a high quality of life for current and future generations.
Roy Heynderickx is president of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey and a member of the board of directors of Independent Colleges of Washington, an association of ten private nonprofit colleges and universities in Washington.
Fund more math and science degrees
April 4, 2013. By Neal Piliavin, posted by Letters Coordinator
Independent colleges should also receive more funding
I applaud The Times’ editorial calling for increased production of college degrees in fields that are vital to our state’s economy [“Fund more seats in high-demand fields,” Opinion, March 27].
I also believe that Washington’s independent colleges must be viewed as part of the solution. Our 10 independent nonprofit colleges and universities already produce one in five of the state’s engineering and science degrees. Our colleges are eager to do more to help Washingtonians prepare for careers in high-demand fields.
State spending per degree at our independent nonprofit colleges is just one-sixth the state cost per degree at public four-year colleges. Our colleges offer creative solutions to increase supply.
One option, proposed by Seattle University, would involve the state contributing additional financial aid, matched by Seattle University’s own funds, to boost enrollment in programs like engineering.
Saint Martin’s University recently opened a new state-of-the-art engineering building (at zero cost to the state), and would like to expand engineering enrollments. These are just a couple of examples.
Let’s encourage our state Legislature to collaborate with Washington’s public and private universities to increase capacity in high-demand fields, and prepare able and motivated Washington students to fill those jobs which had employers looking outside the state.
“Focus funding on the student in higher education”
January 27, 2013
By George S. Bridges Special to The Seattle Times
AS Olympia begins the process of wrestling with another difficult budget and the many needs in our state, changes in the classrooms of our colleges and universities offer a strategy for supporting higher education that increases access to a college education while also ensuring its affordability for Washington residents.
Among the most significant changes in college teaching over the past two decades is the shift from instruction centered on professors, the information they deliver and the content of their courses, to instruction centered on the student and what they learn and gain from their studies. This approach vastly improves the educational experiences of our students.
Just as educators have adopted student-centered approaches to teaching, the Washington state Legislature should fully embrace a student-centered perspective to funding higher education. Public four-year colleges recently offered to freeze tuition for two years in exchange for $225 million in new state funding. This plan focuses partly on students and is worth considering.
However, much greater emphasis should be placed on improving the levels of financial aid provided directly to students — particularly in the State Need Grant and College Bound Scholarship programs. The funds from these programs support talented students from low-income families, affording them access to a college education that otherwise would be unaffordable at the school of their choosing.
In a period when most family incomes have dropped and the gap between the wealthy and poor is wider than at any point in our country’s recent history, Washington’s State Need Grant opens a crucial window of opportunity for many aspiring high-school seniors with much-needed financial aid.
College Bound promises tuition and a small book allowance for low-income students who sign up in middle school, maintain good grades through middle and high school, keep out of legal trouble, and are admitted to one of Washington’s colleges or universities.
Similarly, Washington’s independent colleges and universities that are part of the Independent Colleges of Washington contribute significant financial support to thousands of needy state residents. We accomplish this partly by investing our own institutional funds in financial-aid grants to students.
Students at our colleges receive on average $14,000 per year of institutional aid independent of any state aid. On average, 31 percent of our students come from low-income families and 25 percent are the first in their families to attend college. Our classes are small, our professors work closely with students, graduation rates are high.
Finally, educating the neediest students at our schools costs the state one-sixth the cost of an education at public four-year colleges and universities.
By increasing funding for higher education directed to students and giving highest priority to strengthening the State Need Grant and College Bound programs, a college education will remain accessible and affordable to those who are most needy. By allowing students to take grants from these programs to the schools where they are most likely to thrive and succeed, more students will receive and complete an exceptional college education.
Just as a student-centered approach to higher education improves the quality of undergraduate learning, it also represents a critical pathway to increasing the affordability of postsecondary education and the likelihood that students successfully complete their undergraduate degrees.
June 8, 2012
Regarding Katie Baird’s column on college costs (TNT, 6-6), I would like to thank her for pointing out that private colleges work to ensure the education their students receive remains affordable.
It is widely known that private colleges carry higher published tuition prices. What is much less widely known is that private colleges provide significant financial aid to ensure affordability.
At the 10 private nonprofit colleges that form the Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), nine students out of 10 receive financial aid. The estimated average institutional grant in 2012-13 will be more than $15,500 per year. At our colleges, few students pay the “sticker price,” and no student pays the full cost of his/her education.
As we see in most articles and commentary discussing higher education, the outliers are the story: debt, tuition and endowments. The Ivy League stereotypes evoked in the column do not reflect our students or our colleges in Washington.
One out of four ICW college students is low-income – nearly the same proportion of low-income students served at our excellent public research institutions. About 28 percent of our students are “first generation,” meaning both parents only completed high school.
We must safeguard affordability and adequately fund public colleges, but not by painting private college students and private colleges with a broad-brush stereotype drawn from a handful of the most selective colleges, ignoring the reality at the thousand other private nonprofit liberal arts colleges across the country, in Washington state and in Pierce County.
(Boyer is president and CEO of the Independent Colleges of Washington.)
College is still our best hope
Ronald R. ThomasThe Spokesman-Review Opinion, June 2, 2012
The rites of spring are annually celebrated in May and June at college campuses across the region with symbol-rich commencement ceremonies, joyous families and excited graduates – from Gonzaga to Whitworth, Washington State University to Eastern Washington University and across a host of local community colleges.
This year, we witnessed a common ritual that is not always enacted in the spring. On May 2, Gov. Chris Gregoire brought to a conclusion a difficult series of legislative sessions by signing, at long last, a supplemental budget. Just as new graduates are taking stock of the paths their futures will take, it’s a perfect time for community leaders and concerned citizens to take stock of what was accomplished in Olympia – and what was not – and to look ahead to the path before us.
For three years in a row, the Legislature made very deep cuts in funding for public higher education. Funding for financial aid was increased, but not nearly enough to keep pace with student needs. The budget passed this year, however, does not make further cuts in higher education. Those of us who believe (and the data prove it) that a college education is the most effective means to social mobility and economic prosperity are relieved that the state has taken a closer look at the needs of students and found other budget-balancing alternatives as we move into an uncertain future.
The absence of further cuts this year is just cause for rejoicing. But we cannot afford to linger long in celebration. This year’s budget simply means we stopped digging the deep hole in which we remain standing. The challenge of next year and beyond is how to move in the right direction – into the future – not simply to stop marching cravenly into the past. There are three important steps we must take:
Strengthen support for the neediest college students. The State Need Grant program is supporting only about three of four students who are eligible for aid. We must find ways to serve more students, leverage other funds and encourage on-time graduation. While we are grateful no further cuts were made to work-study, current funding for the program is only one-third of what it was just a few years ago. Work-study is vital for nonprofit organizations and other employers, and it provides real-life work experiences and career direction for students. It also helps students pay part of their own way through college, gaining important work skills and enhancing the prospects of graduation.
Improve public college funding. A strong system of community and technical colleges and great public universities is absolutely vital to our future as a state. Past cuts have forced some much-needed trimming, but they have also caused an increase in class sizes and dangerous reductions in critical student services that are essential for retention and graduation and play a vital part in developing informed and engaged citizens in a fully integrated college experience.
Keep the promise to middle school students. Low-income students in seventh and eighth grades were promised that if they finished high school and stayed out of trouble, enough help would be there for them to cover tuition at public college rates. The College Bound Scholarship has been wildly successful and is growing from 15,000 students this fall to as many as 23,000 in 2015. These are exactly the students we must inspire to enter college if we are going to have any real chance of raising to the necessary level of educational attainment statewide.
The Independent Colleges of Washington – 10 nonprofit private liberal arts colleges – stand ready to assist in raising educational attainment as well. We award one out of five bachelor’s and advanced degrees earned in Washington. And we do it while our students receive only 2 percent of the state higher education budget. Supporting students with financial aid and allowing them to choose the college that best fits their needs and goals is about as good an investment as we can make.
The Spokane region is blessed with strong, collaborative partnerships among higher education and business leaders, and is poised to bring that strong ethic of collaborative partnership to state-level discussions about higher education policy when Ray Lawton, retired owner of Lawton Printing and former trustee of Whitworth University, joins the newly created Washington Student Achievement Council on July 1 as the representative of ICW. Public and private college representatives and citizen leaders will take charge of the new state agency, the successor to the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to state policymakers for stopping the higher education cuts this year. We look forward to working with legislators, the new state council and business and community leaders on the next steps to building a future of promise for students, families and employers all across Washington.
Create opportunities for access and success at Washington’s colleges and universities
The academic needs of Washington residents demand new approaches to supporting and delivering educational programs, writes Whitman College President George Bridges. We must place students first — giving highest priority to increasing academic access and success for undergraduates.
By George Bridges Special to The Seattle Times
In his State of the Union address, President Obama “… put colleges and universities on notice,” asserting that unless they find ways to keep their costs from rising, the federal government would intervene by withholding federally funded financial aid.
The president’s challenge complicates an already difficult situation in our state. As our governor and Legislature continue to struggle with serious budget issues, college and university leaders have repeatedly voiced concern over the impact that erosion of state support has had on their institutions.
Most leaders in higher education and government agree on at least four facts about the plight of Washington’s colleges and universities.
First, the model of funding public higher education is broken and our flagship and regional universities rest at a tipping point that threatens a sharp drop in the quality of education afforded undergraduates. Declines in state funding have contributed significantly to this problem.
Second, financial aid for students who lack the resources to attend college has become an increasingly critical need. The current Washington State Need Grant and work-study programs represent a safety net that preserves access to higher education. These funds provide a ladder of educational opportunity and economic mobility for our poorest in-state students. Any reductions in state support for these students will virtually guarantee that poor Washingtonians remain poor.
Third, the current practice of supporting public institutions by increasing the proportion of out-of-state students who pay significantly higher levels of tuition than in-state students has the adverse effect of restricting Washington’s own residents from attending our public colleges and universities. As an adaptation to reduced levels of state funding, the practice is a budget-relieving measure to preserve current programs — at Washington residents’ expense.
Fourth, the decline in state funding of higher education has fueled a counterproductive competition among institutions for limited state support. This zero-sum contest between various sectors of higher education — community colleges, regional universities and research universities — has had the effect of Balkanizing educational providers.
Unless a miraculous economic recovery occurs and state government places significantly higher priority on funding colleges and universities, the “new normal” in state support is likely to be less, not more. Nevertheless, I believe we can reverse the tragedy unfolding before us.
The academic needs of Washington residents demand new approaches to supporting and delivering educational programs. We must begin by placing students first — that is, giving highest priority to increasing academic access and success for the state’s aspiring undergraduates. Our college and university presidents from all sectors — public and private — must lead with a unified commitment to advancing a new approach to funding higher education and much greater collaboration between the different educational sectors.
Private, nonprofit schools like Whitman, where I am president, rely on a funding model that differs from the state-supported model of funding public institutions. Our schools require that students whose families have the capacity to pay tuition at high levels do so. Those with less capacity pay less. We believe this is a logical and equitable approach to sustaining quality and ensuring access.
Using this model, our colleges educate a very diverse group of students and produce 20 percent of all degrees awarded in the state. Adopting this model of funding for public institutions, along with guarantees that commensurate increases in student financial aid accompany tuition increases, would offer public institutions much-needed financial support at little or no added cost to the state.
Another approach to increasing access to colleges and universities would be to expand partnerships between public and private institutions. Many colleges and universities across the country participate in consortial arrangements in order to increase the range and types of programs in which their students may enroll, while reducing costs to their individual institutions.
We should build upon some of the excellent public/private partnerships currently serving Washington students, making them a much more robust and integral part of how colleges and universities deliver their academic programs.
For example, Heritage University, a private institution based in Toppenish, has arrangements with three community colleges — Columbia Basin, Highline and Big Bend — where students can earn a Heritage bachelor’s degree on those campuses.
At Whitman, we have partnerships with Walla Walla High School and Walla Walla Community College whereby a few advanced students each year attend classes for credit here tuition-free.
Similarly, Seattle University offers courses in management and other aspects of business for local high-school students in its Albers School of Business and Economics.
These are examples of partnerships that place students first, creating opportunities they would not otherwise have.
Washingtonians seek colleges and universities of the highest quality that are accessible to our children and grandchildren. However, achieving high quality and access will require innovative approaches to funding our public institutions and establishing many more collaborative partnerships.
No single sector of higher education or state government can reverse the erosion of support our colleges and universities have experienced. Yet, together we must begin the difficult, yet promising, work of reversing this trend — thereby securing through new models of funding and collaboration a more hopeful future for all Washington students.
Investing in students is the way to help our economy
Seattle Times Letters to the Editor February 14, 2012
Kudos to Rep. Larry Seaquist for calling it like it is. In his guest opinion piece, he warns that although Washingtonians appear to be fairly educated, if you look below the surface you will see the true story, our educational status is an illusion because we import many educated people to fill coveted positions [“Education innovation: Washington’s ladder to long-term success,” Opinion, Feb. 10].
Seaquist says it well, that “investing in our colleges, universities, and most important, our students is our ticket out of this economic slump and the best medicine for our ailing economy.”
Washington is fortunate to have an excellent system of public and private, two-year and four-year colleges, creating a broad range of choices for our students. Choice creates a greater chance of completion and successful entry into the workforce. The state’s laudable investment in student financial aid must be maintained despite these difficult times. Many low-income students simply will not be able enroll or to finish college due to financial pressures without this critical financial aid. The Legislature should strengthen its commitment to students in the form of student financial aid.
They will listen, learn and perhaps make a difference
The News Tribune, February 22, 2011
by Ronald R. Thomas and Loren J. Anderson
This week 40 local college students will go to Lincoln High School to do something that many of us as parents, teachers, civic leaders, and community members regularly fail to do.
They are going to listen.
The high school students will be encouraged to talk about their personal lives and goals, their school lives, and how they think their schools and neighborhoods can be improved.
In theory, the idea of young people talking to each other, to let them know their voice matters and to support them in working to initiate change, is a good one. In practice, it is not easy.
One of our college students who ran an earlier dialogue at a Tacoma high school, described it as “nerve-wracking.”
Faced with five insular teenagers, including one who described gun battles outside his home and another who spoke about being passed between foster homes, the student facilitator felt powerless. But she persevered and is trying again. She is determined to see if the project can make some small difference in the lives of local youth.
It is that kind of thinking that Tacoma needs if we are to address the harrowing issue of youth violence and all it implies.
The high school dialogues, which began last fall, were created by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation with the enthusiastic support of Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound.
They are part of the Youth Against Violence initiative and the Be the Spark campaign, a movement which aims to inspire every Tacoma citizen to be part of the solution in bettering our community.
Our partnership, we hope, will help take these projects deep into the community where those who have the most at risk and the most to gain can make them their own.
When the GTCF approached Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu about coming to Tacoma to speak about these issues, the organizers were frank about our hometown. In recent years, they wrote, Tacoma has experienced a high level of gang- and youth-related violence. About 8 percent of Washington students, ages 13 to 18, reported carrying a weapon on school property in 2006. A full third of sixth-graders that year reported being a victim of bullying.
Tutu is coming to Tacoma on May 13, and the message he will deliver is not unlike that expressed by students participating in the high school dialogue project: Maintain hope and persevere through communal action. In Africa such thinking is framed by ubuntu, a philosophy described by Tutu as: “You are connected and what you do affects the whole world.”
It may seem grandiose to suggest that the contribution of one person – or 40 college students – can become a mountain of a movement. But we see it happening all around us: People working in concert can create miracles.
A study just out by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform reports that coordinated action by parents, youth, residents and institutions can alter longstanding power imbalances and patterns of inequality that result in failing schools. The study cites numerous successes.
Tacoma can be one of those success stories. We support Be the Spark and Youth Against Violence because, as college presidents, we are inspired by what young people dare to believe is possible, and we aim to be part of a citywide movement to make a peaceful and productive Tacoma a reality for the youth who live here.
Lending an ear in our high schools is one small step. Choosing to “be the spark” may be the next. We can only hope this might happen in the manner of ubuntu, with each individual deciding on his or her own to take responsibility – and with the many acting together for the common good.
Bill Robinson and Thayne McCulloh’s letter to the Spokane Spokesman-Review
Submitted February 26, 2010
During even the best of economic times, good and important causes compete for limited resources. In what are arguably the worst circumstances the state has faced for generations, the Governor and the Legislature are faced with impossible choices. We are therefore grateful for and support the Governor’s revised budget request, which restores funding for the State Need Grant for low-income college students.
This revision recognizes the essential role higher education plays in equipping the next generation of educated citizens to revitalize Washington’s economy. State Need Grants open the door for students to attend Washington’s great public and independent institutions. Gonzaga and Whitworth receive no direct funds from the state; many students who attend our schools are able to do so because State Need Grants – in combination with our own financial assistance – make college affordable, ease the burden on taxpayers, and create additional capacity for enrollments at public institutions. Over 73,000 students statewide benefit from the State Need Grant program.
We urge the legislature to restore funding for the State Work Study program as well. Students earn financial aid and gain valuable work experience; employers throughout the state and city, particularly those in key social and service agencies, are able to serve clients at organizations such as the YWCA, Spokane Mental Health, and the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.
In tough economic times, investment in aid to students is one of the smartest, and most strategic, investments we can make to create a brighter future for Spokane and the state.
Bill Robinson President, Whitworth University
Slashing financial aid imperils higher education and economic growth
The Olympian, published February 07, 2010By Roy F. Heynderickx
A couple of weeks ago, I walked at the state Capitol with two Saint Martin’s University students to meet with state legislators to talk about state student aid, in particular the Washington state need grant program. The purpose of our walking the hallways that day was to put a face on the spreadsheet figures that our legislators will consider in the next few weeks.
As you may recall, our governor’s December budget proposed reducing the state need grant program drastically, which would cause more than 15,000 students to lose eligibility and the remaining 57,000 students to receive sharply lower amounts in aid.
Such cuts jeopardize students’ ability to continue to pay for their education. The governor’s January budget seeks to restore those grants with new revenue yet to be identified, while other smaller state student support programs would not be restored or are being suspended.
Both students who accompanied me are full-time students at Saint Martin’s. And while they both have taken on jobs in addition to their full course load, they are still dependent on the state need grant to help pay for school. These two are more than just students in need; they represent the future. Both excel in their studies and are involved in student government. They walked with me out of concern for their fellow students, but hopeful that these grants will stay funded.
You will find students like these two – engaged in their education and embodying great promise, yet dependent upon the state need grant – at public and private colleges and universities across our great state.
As we toured the Capitol, I thought of how my generation benefited from the scholarship and education programs implemented in the 1960s. Those programs provided grants and loans that covered a large portion of the cost of education. The programs enabled many of us to pursue degrees that led to careers, employment growth, and community involvement. Those programs have not kept up with the growing cost of education. It would be a shame if a program such as the state need grant was cut or eliminated at a time when access to higher education is needed most.
No matter which party you support, President Obama’s mandate to “have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020” so as to “better prepare our workforce for a 21st-century economy” is the best prescription for our economic woes.
In Washington state, higher education has been a key economic driver. Our economy has already seen changes in the last few decades. Skilled employment from certain trades, in particular construction, has given way to jobs in technology, health care, business, etc.
These sectors have attracted a more educated workforce, which has brought new businesses to our region and helped it thrive. Our future workforce will continue to require advanced education to open doors to professional and personal lifestyles previous generations have enjoyed.
Access to higher education, unfortunately, is still defined by affordability. Those who can afford it will seek it. But for those who cannot, the door might be closed forever. We must do our part to make sure that access – especially through grants – is available to those that need them most. We have an obligation to the current generation to help provide access to higher education. To ignore this generation will play out in many unhealthy ways for society.
So, where do we come up with new revenue to help maintain these programs?
I would ask our legislators to think hard about this and consider new sources. Every source must be weighed against our responsibility to the next generation, as we most certainly will be dependent upon this generation for our own well-being and security. As Lee Iacocca once said, “passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.”
Avoid catastrophe: Don’t cut Washington’s higher-education funding any more
Seattle Times, December 7, 2009
By Ronald R. Thomas, Rodolfo Arévalo and Charlie Earl
H.G. Wells wrote in “The Outline of History” that “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” Washington’s leaders will make decisions that affect that race when the Legislature convenes in January.
Despite severe economic challenges, colleges in Washington are doing a remarkable job of meeting the state’s higher-education needs. Enrollment is up substantially at public baccalaureate institutions this fall, despite tuition increases of 14 percent. Private colleges, which many thought would see enrollment plummet in this economy, saw a healthy increase as well. And the state’s community colleges are bursting at the seams with students seeking job training or starting on their way to a college degree. Students are brimming with hope, vitality and excitement about the opportunities a good education provides.
This success is occurring despite severe limitations on resources. State operating support for public institutions was reduced sharply in the budget enacted by the Legislature earlier this year. Independent colleges felt the squeeze through a drop in endowment income and a more difficult annual fundraising climate. While the state and federal governments both have increased investment in student aid, and institutions also are devoting more resources to help low- and moderate-income students pay the bill, it isn’t enough; colleges are admitting more students with greater financial need than ever before.
That brings us to the state budget, which analysts now predict will be $2.6 billion out of balance by the end of the biennium in the middle of 2011. Some are already drawing a target — again — on higher-education funding. They say that their hands are tied, and look to colleges for reductions because investing in higher education is not constitutionally mandated.
Further cuts to higher education would be a huge mistake.
Colleges are already working with limited resources; additional cuts in operating support would make it increasingly difficult to offer the classes and support services students need. Slashing financial aid would force many students out of college and dash their best hope for getting the skills and knowledge they need to improve their lives and climb the economic ladder.
Higher education is vitally important not only for the individual but for the state. College-educated citizens are critical to the innovation we need to rise to economic recovery. Study after study shows that as people become more educated, they are less likely to need state services and more likely to be employed, pay more taxes and be more flexible workers. They are less likely to be on public assistance, and more likely to have better health, vote, give to charities and volunteer. In short, higher education can prevent a host of problems that taxpayers spend a lot of money trying to fix later.
Given the demonstrable benefits of higher education both to individuals and society, it’s almost inconceivable that the state’s students and colleges often end up taking the brunt of budget cuts rather than being a top priority for state support.
The state Legislature set a goal, by adopting the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s master plan, of increasing college degree production at all levels by nearly 32,000 annually by 2018. Further cuts to higher education would make it highly unlikely that this goal can even be approached, and would deny opportunities to thousands of capable Washington students.
Education? Or catastrophe? We urge our leaders to back the winning horse in that race.
Rodolfo Arévalo is president of Eastern Washington University and chair of the Council of Presidents. Charlie Earl is executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Ronald R. Thomas is president of University of Puget Sound and chair of the board of Independent Colleges of Washington.
Higher ed in Washington needs more support
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle), Friday, July 24, 2009
by Todd Ruberg
When the celebrations are over, our future leaders — today’s college and high school graduates — are going to wake up to some real challenges as they start out in the world.
The season of college commencements and high school graduations is usually a time of joy and optimism as these new graduates celebrate their accomplishments and make big plans for the future. But this year there’s way too much bad news.
The economy remains down in the dumps, and college grads face the toughest job market in memory. High school grads will find that public colleges and universities are being forced to raise tuition dramatically while simultaneously reducing enrollment. But the issue affects us all, as this is happening at the time when we need bright young talent to come in with new ideas and fresh perspective in order to revitalize Washington’s workplaces and economy.
The job market will recover. The economy will right itself. But I’m worried that the bad news has some bright young people disheartened and ready to throw in the towel.
My company, Procter & Gamble, is a proud sponsor of the Costco Scholarship Fund, a program administered by the College Success Foundation to provide financial assistance to highly qualified underrepresented minority students who wish to attend Seattle University or the University of Washington.
I attended the fund’s annual breakfast last fall and was impressed with the marvelous stories from scholarship recipients about what they were accomplishing and how the financial assistance made it possible.
I was moved by the story told by Melvin Pretlow, a recipient of a Costco scholarship who sat at my table at breakfast. A Seattle University finance major, he is an impressive young man, but shared with us that he was having second thoughts about his career choice. He was disillusioned by the greed and poor behavior that had contributed to the economic downturn and was questioning if this was still the right career field for him. I counseled him to stick with it, as all these events were exactly why the finance industry needs bright young people like him to come in with optimism and ethics and make a difference.
There are thousands of students like Melvin out there. Bright, talented, loaded with potential, but confronting the tough realities that college may not be available or in reach for them.
What we as a society — business, the Legislature, individuals — very much need to do is pull together and commit to finding the wherewithal and the resources to increase our ability to tap and develop future talent, not to scrimp on higher education when our state and nation need to be preparing the leaders and job creators of the future.
A big part of the task falls to the Legislature, of course. Lawmakers did well in actually increasing state financial aid programs — an aspect of the college equation that often gets ignored in the news coverage — but the decrease in enrollment at a time when Washington businesses are crying out for well-educated talent is disappointing.
The buck may stop with the governor and Legislature, but it starts with us. There are a number of things that businesses and individuals can do to help. We can urge the government to give better support for higher education.
We can urge support for financial aid programs that make college accessible and affordable for low- and middle-income students who attend colleges, public or private, in our state. And we can and must take on some of the responsibility and do it ourselves.
Support colleges, and don’t forget private institutions which, while individually relatively small, together confer about a quarter of the bachelor’s and higher degrees earned in Washington each year.
I serve on the board of their association, Independent Colleges of Washington (ICWashington.org), which raises funds for scholarships for students at all 10 of its member institutions. Donating to ICW is an easy way for companies and individuals to support deserving students at great colleges all over the state.
Let’s step up and support higher education opportunity in Washington wherever and whenever we can. The problems of the future are getting more complex, and will ultimately be addressed by and solved by “future” leaders — those high school grads that we need to develop in our colleges today. Find a way you can help — our future depends on it.
Private college: Still a bargain for some
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle), Friday, May 15, 2009
by Rodney Proctor With each passing day, the economic crisis in America seems to add to its list of potential causalities — financial institutions, insurance companies, automakers, retailers, even homeowners. However, the biggest loss of all for many may be the loss of hope that they can attain their dream of a college education.
For at least the past 50 years, a primary way to improve one’s life in America has been to get a college education. Statistics consistently show that the average college graduate earns nearly twice as much as a high school graduate and almost three times as much as a high school dropout. The dream of a college education for their children has been a major motivator for many American mothers and fathers over the years.
With mounting layoffs, foreclosures and economic uncertainty, today’s world has many fearful that a college education may no longer be possible for them or their children. This sense of hopelessness is even more frightening in many lowincome and minority communities where education is one of the few “legal” tools for breaking the cycle of poverty.
However, the truth is that a college education is still possible and affordable for students in the right circumstances. In fact, for low-income, minority, or firstgeneration college students who possess the right academic qualifications, the best option may actually be a private college in spite of high costs.
Independent institutions place a great emphasis on making sure that students who enroll actually graduate. In fact, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) reports that most students, including low-income and minority students, are as likely if not more likely to earn a degree in four years from a private college as they would in six years from a public institution. According to NAICU, students who have kids, who must work full time, who get no help from their parents, or who face other challenges also are more likely to graduate from a private college.
Washington state’s private colleges are diverse. The 10 members of Independent Colleges of Washington enroll about the same ratio of minority students as do the public baccalaureate universities, about 20 percent. And all students — African American, Native American, Asian American, Latino, white — are far more likely to graduate in four years than their counterparts at the public schools. This is possible because students at independent colleges receive lots of support. It starts with small classes where students actually get to know and talk with their professors and classmates.
Education at a small college is not a spectator sport. In these environs, fewer students fall through the cracks because they actively participate in their education and they get help when needed.
Student support includes mentoring and tutoring, both from professors and from other students. It’s easy to get involved in — or start — affinity groups that offer peer support and activities, and/or virtually any other kind of student organization. As private entities, independent colleges can target help where it’s needed most, whether it’s for minority students who wish to become teachers, or nursing students who agree to work in a low-income community upon graduation.
Although tuition at a private college in Washington is, on average, about four times that of the University of Washington, few students pay the full amount. Nearly 90 percent receive some financial aid. The colleges themselves give grants, with the average assistance per student being just over $10,000 per year. The state Legislature recognizes the power of financial aid, and invested an additional $52 million in student aid in its newly written budget despite an enormous shortfall.
Students also may receive federal grants as well as state and federal work study. Organizations such as Independent Colleges of Washington provide scholarships specifically for students who attend member institutions.
In short, given the current economic recession, the prospect of affording a college education may seem daunting. However, for low income, minority and first generation college students, college is an investment they cannot afford to pass up. More specifically, I believe that the independent colleges in Washington are the best option for low-income and minority students who are up to the academic challenge.
The independent colleges of Washington offer a rigorous college education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, with an emphasis on critical thinking, lifelong learning, ethics, leadership and community service. More importantly, the substantial financial and other support systems at these private institutions make the benefits very clear and practically a bargain given the increased longterm economic benefits of a college education.
Don’t backslide on higher education
Seattle Times, December 1, 2008
At a recent question-and-answer session during a family weekend held by one of our colleges, a mother whose household had lost much of its savings due to the current economic crisis handwrote a note for the college president. She didn’t want to ask the question publicly.The president saw fear, worry in her face. He read her question: What plan does the college have to help families like hers that will have trouble paying their children’s tuition bills?
The president reassured her, but he has concerns, too.
The concern: Funding for higher education.
Even as Washington state faces a burgeoning projected deficit in the budget, we must not reduce support for our public colleges and universities, nor for need-based financial aid given to Washington’s poorest college-bound students. The state’s future depends heavily upon a thriving comprehensive system of higher education, both public and private.
As the presidents of the 10 independent colleges and universities in Washington, we share the resolute belief that Washington must remain a leader in higher education, providing its public colleges and universities with funding adequate to sustain academic programs and also granting the neediest students, those who attend both public and private colleges and universities, sufficient financial aid to complete their studies successfully.
Our public institutions have already been asked to cut $36 million from their budgets this fiscal year. They have been asked to prepare for up to $600 million more in cuts from their budgets in the next biennium. The negative effects from such deep cuts will ripple through the region’s economy for years.
No one can say with certainty when turbulence in the markets will end or how deep or long the current recession will run. But we can state with absolute certainty that during economic slowdowns, more people turn to colleges and universities to advance their education toward building better careers. Reducing support for higher education will handicap the persons most motivated and most likely to find new and better positions in the work force.
The colleges and universities we represent depend upon our state’s public institutions. Our schools routinely enroll transfer students from the community colleges. A high percentage of our outstanding graduates go on to seek advanced degrees, often at public research institutions. And we rely on and recruit from UW and WSU for newly trained PhDs to serve as faculty members on our campuses.
Public colleges and universities must not be a “budget balancer.” All sectors of our diverse system of higher education must be strong if we hope to provide education of the highest quality to state residents.
We are also concerned that all students — at public and private institutions — receive the most financial-aid support possible to continue their educations. Washington claims a proud history of consistently offering need-based aid to residents attending college even during economic downturns. Among the things we worry about is the possibility that in this recession many talented people will miss out on a college education because state-supported financial aid is inadequate.
We applaud the Gates Foundation’s recent commitment to increasing the number of students from low-income families who complete college. We should follow the foundation’s visionary lead by solidifying and expanding the need-based financial support the state provides these students. This is imperative, even in this budget downturn during which our state expects to bring in more than $31 billion in general-fund revenue in the coming biennium.
The societal benefits of academic success are legion: lower levels of unemployment, reduced reliance on public assistance, increased consumption of goods and services, and increased contributions to the tax base.
All of us will hurt if we backslide in our commitment to higher education. Balancing the state budget on colleges or universities, or on our students, won’t lessen the burden. If anything, the burden will increase as the capacity of our academic institutions to fuel our economy stalls.
And we think this result is far more costly than investing adequately in our colleges, universities and most needy students. The costs of reducing their support will far outweigh the near-term fiscal gain and only add to the economic turmoil surrounding us.
What most economists are saying about the larger financial landscape is also true about education: now is not the time to retrench, but to think strategically about the future, to invest in the most promising and essential of assets in our society: informed and well-prepared leaders of tomorrow.
A version of this column was sent as a letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire from the presidents of the state’s independent universities and colleges: Robert J. Spitzer, Gonzaga University; Kathleen Ross, Heritage University; Loren J. Anderson, Pacific Lutheran University; David R. Spangler, Saint Martin’s University; Philip W. Eaton, Seattle Pacific University; Stephen V. Sundborg, Seattle University; Ronald R. Thomas, University of Puget Sound; John McVay, Walla Walla University; George S. Bridges, Whitman College; and William P. Robinson, Whitworth University.