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  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire signs higher education bills

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2011

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the following statement after she signed several bills to improve Washington state’s higher education system into law:

“Washington state’s future depends on its ability to keep and attract the companies and industries that drive the innovation economy. But to stay competitive economically, we have got to be competitive educationally.

“Last July, I asked the Higher Education Funding Task Force to develop proposals to better fund our colleges and universities and to improve the institutions’ accountability and performance. I endorsed the task force’s recommendations, and today I signed the resulting legislation into law.

“Despite these tough economic times, our colleges and universities must have the resources to educate and train the next generation of engineers, scientists and workers. Tuition flexibility will allow them to set their own tuition through 2019, so it is competitive with similar colleges and universities in other Global Challenge states. To help ensure taxpayers, students and families get the best return on their investments, Washington will report graduation rates, numbers of degrees awarded and other measurements of student success through the National Governors Association’s Complete to Compete initiative.

“To help families mitigate the impacts of higher tuition, we created the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Backed with public and private support, this new scholarship will help low- and middle-income students pay for higher education. We will begin a review of our pre-paid tuition program, GET, to ensure it remains strong. We will also create the new Office of Student Financial Assistance, so all our students can access the innovation economy’s great promise.

“With the help of our workers, legislators and businesses, we are putting our state on a path to a better economic future. We must recognize the work of the bills’ sponsors and the entire Legislature. Thanks to Boeing and Microsoft for their generous contributions to the Opportunity Scholarship Program and for their partnership and support.”