State Priorities
State Priorities

State Public Policy

With students from each of Washington’s 39 counties and 135 years of history, the 10 Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) award one in five of the baccalaureate and graduate degrees earned in the state of Washington.

Working together, we can encourage more state residents to attend colleges or universities in Washington, increasing the likelihood that they will remain in the state to live and work. With targeted investments, we can reduce the need for student and family borrowing and leverage the full range of educational opportunities present in the state.

 

Washington’s Need for Home-Grown Talent

Business leaders and state policymakers agree that a greater number of high school graduates and adults need to pursue higher education to meet the demands of our state’s economy. (Both the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) and the Washington Roundtable have set a 70% postsecondary credential attainment goal. WSAC’s goal is for adults aged 25-44 to earn a credential by 2023 ; the Roundtable’s goal is for students graduating high school beginning in 2030

Companies look for the skills a liberal arts education delivers: the ability to work in a team, problem-solving skills, written and verbal communication skills and a strong work ethic.

State Priorities

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Fully fund the Washington College Grant

Together with partners across the state, we say “thank you” to the Governor and Legislature for making a significant investment in the Washington College Grant. By fully funding the program for all eligible students, expanding eligibility to more Washington students and making the funding predictable, we will be able to change the conversation from “whether” to go to college to “where” to go. Our member campuses are fully engaged with efforts across the state to encourage more Washingtonians to pursue education beyond high school.

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Adopt “equity fix” for Washington residents attending independent colleges

 

Looking ahead, we encourage policymakers to reinstate in statute the established public policy of Washington College Grant maximum award equity between state residents who choose to attend a not-for-profit, private college or university and those who choose to attend the state’s public research universities. Tying the maximum award keeps the focus on “best fit" and helps the state of Washington leverage the capacity of its non-profit campuses in service to the state goal of seeing more state residents pursue postsecondary education.

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Reinvest in the State Work Study Program

State Work Study is financial aid for low- and middle-income students. Qualifying students get an approved job, on- or off-campus, to support their education. Work study builds students’ skills, increases their earnings, and reduces reliance on student loans.

We see great value in this program and its unique purpose of helping students earn and learn, helping them to defray college expenses while gaining valuable work experience related to their fields of study. An infusion of funding to this proven program would mean more students could receive the benefits of the program, and more companies and organizations would have the opportunity to recruit future talent by building connections to future graduates.

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Leverage capacity at ICW campuses

As the state seeks to expand the number of degrees awarded in high-demand areas, we ask for the opportunity to be a part of the solution. Following models from other states, Washington could implement targeted programs of support to ensure that state residents can fill available seats currently available at Independent Colleges of Washington’s 10 member campuses to help meet critical state needs.

State Memberships

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Association of Washington Business

Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes nearly 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association.

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About Independent Colleges of Washington and its member campuses

  • The 10 member colleges of Independent Colleges of Washington collectively educate more than 35,000 students annually.
  • Approximately one in four of our undergraduates qualify for Pell and/or Washington College grants; one-third are students of color; one in three students transfer credits from other institutions; and more than 1,000 are veterans.
  • We enroll students from all 39 Washington counties, each of our 49 sister states, and more than 90 countries.
  • Our 8,000 employees and nearly 200,000 alumni are making meaningful contributions to communities throughout the state.
  • Each year, our graduates make up one in five (20%) of the new bachelor’s and graduate degree earners in the state.
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