Washington state Sen. Mark Schoesler and the ASWSU senate announced their support of WSU President Elson S. Floyd’s tuition plan Wednesday night.
Schoesler represents District 9 and has served on the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Rules Committee. District 9 includes the Pullman community in its constituency, and stretches from just south of Spokane to just north of Tri-Cities. Ed Deocampo/The Daily Evergreen
Schoesler said he agrees with Floyd’s plan to increase tuition by the consumer price index, which follows inflation rates.
Upon Schoesler's request, the Senate Ways and Means Committee staff drafted legislation similar to Floyd's tuition plan for the 2013 legislative session. Schoesler said he or another member of the Senate could sponsor the bill, which would apply to all public higher education institutions in the state.
“I think that’s how we start turning this higher (education) ship around – Is getting to a responsible level of tuition,” he said. “What we’re doing now is not sustainable.”
Schoesler said a lack of cuts by the Legislature to K-12 and higher education last year showed “the ship started to turn back to the center.”
“I think if we slow the growth in other areas we can gradually turn that ship,” he said. “It’s not going to be a 90-degree turn, but I think we can gradually move it because public opinion is finally getting it that we’ve gone too far in tuition and those costs.”
Schoesler said tuition will be an important consideration when the Senate passes a state budget this upcoming session. But he said the Senate cannot amend tuition policy through the state budget alone. An additional bill is needed, he said.
He hopes to see a sensible tuition policy for students by the end of his four years in office, he said.
After Schoesler spoke, the ASWSU senate addressed a resolution in support of Floyd’s tuition plan.
The resolution, written by Vice President Derrick Skaug, passed unanimously.
“I just hope students become more aware of this tuition plan,” Skaug said, “because I think a lot of people don’t know about it yet just because it’s something that hasn’t been discussed in great detail.”
Skaug said the shared support of Schoesler, Floyd and ASWSU for the consumer price index plan will aid in making it a reality.
He said the Cougar Lobby Team will send the resolution to the Higher Education Committee in Olympia and to all District 9 legislators.
“It’s very important to let the folks know that we support this plan,” Skaug said. “This plan is the right direction for our university.”