Many of our state lawmakers got where they are today thanks to the affordable education they received at Washington State’s public universities. So how does the opportunity they enjoyed compare to what they are offering this year’s freshman class?
The chart above graphs total tuition and fees—adjusted for inflation—paid by a range of lawmakers for their freshman year at state schools, compared to the current tuition and fees for the University of Washington. As it turns out, they paid a fraction of what students pay now, largely because legislators slashed funding to state universities. A decade ago, the state funded 70 percent of the residents’ tuition, but now it funds only 30 percent. “It’s still a heck of a value,” state senator Rodney Tom said in October.
Yeah, to somebody who lives in a Medina mansion, maybe. Or better yet, somebody who still lives in 1981.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s how much tuition has increased at each of Washington’s public colleges/universities: http://www.stateofworkingwa.org/2012/pay-it-forward/index.htm]