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University of Washington Approves 20 Percent Tuition Hike

Liz Jones

The University of Washington has approved its largest ever tuition hike. Starting this fall, tuition will shoot up 20 percent for in–state undergraduate students. KUOW's Liz Jones reports.


About 30 students gathered in protest before the UW regents voted on this record tuition boost. They held up signs that said, "Public UW, not a country club," and "Tuition hikes equal education for the rich."

After the regents unanimously approved the budget, the meeting ended with a solo, drawn–out boo.

Sound: (meeting attendee boos)

Junior Candy Gutierrez left Thursday's meeting upset and uncertain about her future.

Gutierrez: "You know, I [sighs], I don't know if I'll be back to the University of Washington next year. It's so discouraging and so disheartening."

For in–state undergraduate students, the yearly cost will now go up to almost $10,600. That's nearly $1,900 more than last year.

Gutierrez is waiting to see if she'll qualify for extra financial aid to cover the difference.

Gutierrez: "I am from the poor class, so I am able to receive financial aid, but there are plenty of students here who are from the middle class and they don't receive any financial aid. And, you know, I feel for them even more because, you know, every time tuition increases, that's more indebted they are."

State funding to the UW has dropped dramatically in the past few years. This year the school received about half the amount it did three years ago. That's led to cuts in programs, staff and services — and now higher tuition.

UW Interim President Phyllis Wise says the board had no alternative but to raise tuition. She says the extra money will boost programs and financial aid for students.

Wise: "We're taking half of the increase in tuition and putting it into aid, and half of it into restoring academic programs that are in high demand."

Jones: "What kind of programs?"

Wise: "So, composition, writing, more sections for biology, more sections for chemistry — the gateway courses that students have to have in order to major in those areas."

The regents also voted to raise out–of–state tuition by 10 percent, to about $27,000 a year.

With this vote, the UW becomes the first to take advantage of a new state law. It allows colleges to raise tuition above the rate budgeted by the Legislature.

I'm Liz Jones, KUOW News.

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