It’s no surprise that such a plan would advance in Washington State and it’ll be fascinating to see how it works out.

The Crosscut reports:

Free college is coming for WA families making under $50K

For years, Washington state has failed to fully fund its financial-aid program for low-income college students. This school year, about 18,000 people qualified for Washington’s State Need Grant, but didn’t get an award because of the program’s limited budget.

That is now set to change. Not only did Washington lawmakers approve a plan to fully fund the college grant program, eliminating the wait list over the next two years, they’re expanding who qualifies — and making the awards guaranteed.

The expansive higher-education plan the Legislature approved last month will make college tuition free for families making up to 55 percent of the state’s median family income, or up to $50,400 for a family of four. The plan will do so by creating a dedicated account for college and workforce-education investments, paid for by an increase in taxes on certain professional service businesses, as well as on high-tech companies.

State Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, called the plan “a once-in-a-generation investment” in the state’s future workforce.

“The investments in this bill are going to transform lives and the competitiveness of this state,” said Palumbo, who chairs the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.

More middle-income families will receive partial awards under House Bill 2158, which Gov. Jay inslee is expected to sign into law later this month. Under the legislation, families making up to the state’s median income — $91,766 for a family of four — will qualify for at least some level of award.


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