The Washington Legislature approved a plan that guarantees free tuition to all state residents with family incomes below $50,400. As a result, budgetary constraints will longer exclude any qualified residents. In other words, the waitlist for the state’s Need Grant program is history.
Furthermore, families earning up to the median income will qualify for some tuition reimbursement. Approximately 110,000 state residents will benefit from the now renamed Washington College Grant. This program is open to residents of any age who want to earn a first bachelor’s degree. A total of 79,000 residents will receive free tuition at public two- and four-year colleges as well trade schools, apprenticeship programs and some private colleges.
In contrast, only 68,205 students received Need Grant awards of any amount this past year. New business taxes should raise $376 million over the next two years to fund this program.