Rise in tuition

Washington state universities and colleges objected in 2013 to budget proposals put forward by the state legislature that may cause a tuition increase of up to 10 percent by 2015. There is also a potential for tuition to increase by 20 percent for international students through a bill proposed by Sen. Rodney Tom.

Washington state universities and colleges objected in 2013 to budget proposals put forward by the state legislature that may cause a tuition increase of up to 10 percent by 2015. There is also a potential for tuition to increase by 20 percent for international students through a bill proposed by Sen. Rodney Tom.

By Randle Kinswa, Co-Managing Editor/Sports Editor

Just over a month ago EWU  announced that tuition for students would increase. 

Some students, like Hamine Mendez, were frustrated to hear the university raise tuition, considering the current economic situation.

“I thought it was a little ridiculous to be paying more for a less quality education,” Mendez said. “Especially during a time where people might have less money because they lost their job.”

Mendez, a senior journalism major, said he understands the university needs the money, but believes it’s not fair to make students pay. He said the university should have allocated resources from other places.

After Mendez learned of the tuition rising, he took action by starting an online petition.The petition is called “disputing the rise in tuition”. Mendez said as of September 30, 1,008 people have signed the petition he started.

Mendez said he knows he has a voice and he would rather fail trying, than never try at all. Mendez almost went further than a petition.

“I actually almost organized a protest, however I thought the petition would get more engagement.” 

Mendez said he is optimistic about the university listening to students. However, the university has not acknowledged the petition so far.

“Eastern is amazing and wouldn’t intentionally screw us,” Mendez said. “I feel like they will listen … but won’t budge because this decision was not made lightly.”

Giacobbe Galietti is a student who attends EWU and feels little bit different about the rise in tuition than Mendez does.

Galietti believes if the university is investing in its students, then he is okay with the rise in tuition. 

Galietti has not been personally affected by the rise in tuition, not he said, any of his friends or peers. 

Samantha Armstong-Ash, the vice president for Student Life and dean of students, said raising the price of tuition was really the only way to help the financial situation at the university.

Armstrong-Ash said EWU has had the lowest tuition in the state for a major university for 12-14 years, and when other universities in Washington chose to raise tuition. 

EWU chose to not go down that path and keep tuition low. Now, during the economic fallout of COVID-19, EWU’s only option was to raise tuition. 

“We looked to find any sort of wiggle room to help students financially this year,” Armstrong-Ash said. “We found some wiggle room by waiving the transportation fee this year.”

Armstrong-Ash said the Students and Activities Committee wanted to raise tuition by 4%, which is the highest the state of Washington allows a public university to increase its tuition year-to-year. 

Each year the Students and Activities Committee votes and approves the budget proposal that it then sends to the Board of Directors. 

The Student and Activities Committee consists of six students and four faculty members. The structure of this committee is shown below:

 6 students-at-large (voting members) consisting of:

  • ASEWU Finance Vice President
  • 5 students-at-large recommended by ASEWU
  • 4 university faculty/staff (voting members) consisting of:
  • 1 representative recommended by the EWU Chief Financial Officer
  • 1 representative recommended by the Faculty Organization 
  • 2 staff members recommended by the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • 3 ex-officio (non-voting) members consisting of:
  • Vice President for Student Affairs or designee
  • ASEWU President or designee
  • EWU Chief Financial Officer or designee

On February 4, the committee passed a motion to raise the tuition for students by 4%. The total vote tally was 5-1-1.

On May 12 the Board of Directors sent the budget proposal back to the Students and Activities committee to lower the raise in tuition to just 2.6%.

Armstrong-Ash said the Board of Directors did not want to raise the tuition by 4%. 

Armstrong-Ash said the student and activities committee still has open positions left for students to apply to the committee this year.