So I’m wreaking havoc in the other Washington for a few days, but that doesn’t stop me from reading the Seattle Times editorial page. (Because I’m stoopid.) And for obvious reasons, I just couldn’t wait to click through to the following headline: “Washington’s tuition stability good for students, GET program.”
WASHIINGTON’S prepaid tuition plan rebounded into financial solvency on the wings of a rebounding stock market and a shift in legislative policy. That’s good news for the state: In 2013, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program was underfunded by $631 million. Absent the rebound, Washington would’ve been on the hook.
But the real winners in the rebound are Washington college students and their families, whether they had GET accounts or not. The prepaid plan’s deficit had been compounded by a ruinous state policy of huge tuition increases.
But if you were expecting the editors to eat a little well-deserved crow, think again. Absolutely zero mention of the editorial board’s prior advocacy to shut down GET at a taxpayer cost of $1.7 billion. Though in their defense, perhaps not even Seattle Times editors can bear to read the paper’s awful editorial pages.
One other comment, though:
The Legislature wisely reversed the gouge on college students and froze tuition increases for the past two years.
To be clear, freezing tuition after four years of double-digit increases is good. But the legislature has not “reversed the gouge.” Lawmakers who paid an inflation-adjusted $2,500 a year for their own tuition a generation ago have still left today’s students paying around $13,000. It would take a couple decades of tuition freezes to truly reverse the gouge. And we all know that’s not likely to happen.
So if the editors truly care about Washington college students and their families, they would marshal their advocacy on behalf of raising the tax revenue necessary to both add capacity and restore some fiscal balance to our state college and university system.