As legislators, it is our responsibility to invest in students and ensure everyone has access to an education that sets them up for the future. From kindergarten to higher education, students across the board need their basic needs met to achieve success. Legislative Democrats pass policies and make investments that increase opportunities for students across Washington. We know college is a powerful pathway to opportunity, but it’s not the only path — that’s why we made significant new investments in apprenticeships to ensure everyone can find a good-paying career.
- HB 1559, the Basic Needs Act, creates a strategy for a hunger-free campus and establishes benefits navigators at each public institution and the tribal college. It also creates a pilot program to provide free and reduced-priced meals at some higher education institutions.
- HB 1238 increases the number of students who will have access to free breakfast and lunch.
- SB 5079 increases transparency into tuition fee rate hikes.
- SB 5702 makes the housing and assistance pilot program permanent by allowing all CTCs and public four-year institutions eligible to participate. This program serves students experiencing homelessness and those who were in foster care while in high school.
- HB 1289 strengthens state funding contributions to the Opportunity Scholarship and the Rural Jobs programs.
- HB 1823 encourages students to enter high-demand advanced degree programs by enhancing the Washington student loan program.
- SB 5048 removes barriers for students who want to enroll in College in the High School by eliminating course fees.
- SB 5257 guarantees that all elementary school students have access to at least 30 minutes of recess each day and makes clear that recess should not be withheld as a disciplinary or punitive action.
- HB 1658 allows students aged 16 and older to earn up to two elective credits through paid work experience.
- The 2023-25 operating budget included $2.9 billion in total new spending for education across Washington, including:
- $417 million for special education students.
- $85 million to expand access to free meals for students.
- $90 million for low-interest graduate student loans.
Every student deserves access to a healthy and supportive learning environment. I am proud to make our higher education institutions more accessible to more folks across the state.