Dear friends and neighbors,

Our state has made great progress to expand access to higher education with one of the most generous financial aid systems in the nation. Thanks to programs such as the College Bound Scholarship and the Washington College Grant, more young people have a realistic and affordable path to higher education. During the 2024 session, the Legislature worked to expand access further and passed legislation to meet critical workforce demands, make key investments in the University of Washington, and increase opioid prevention education and awareness at institutions of higher education.

Increasing access to higher education

  • SB 5904 allows students who need additional time to complete their degree to extend the terms of eligibility for financial aid programs from five to six years.
  • HB 2214 allows 10th, 11th, and 12th graders whose families are beneficiaries of public assistance programs to qualify automatically as income-eligible for the Washington College Grant.
  • SB 5670 allows for rising 11th graders to participate in summer Running Start.
  • SB 6053 improves equitable access to postsecondary education by requiring the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) to enter into data-sharing agreements with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This will help to inform high school students of postsecondary financial aid and educational opportunities available in the state.
  • SB 5953 allows incarcerated students to access federal and state financial aid.

Addressing workforce demands

  • HB 1946 creates the Washington Health Corps Behavioral Health Scholarship Program, providing incentive for students to work in behavioral health.
  • HB 2019 establishes the Native American apprentice assistance program for members of federally recognized Indian tribes whose traditional lands and territories included parts of Washington.
  • SB 6296 requires the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to establish a retail workforce workgroup to identify, among other things, programs of value to the retail workforce and possible career pathways.

Responding to the opioid crisis

  • HB 2112 creates opioid and fentanyl prevention education and awareness at institutions of Higher Education by requiring opioid and fentanyl prevention education for all students.

New funding for UW

The final supplemental capital and operating budgets enacted by the legislature included substantial additional support for the University of Washington, including:

  • $60 million for UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center to support their critical safety net care and medical training missions for the state.
  • $20 million for the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning, the new behavioral health teaching facility at UW Medical Center-Northwest.
  • $5 million to design the modernization of the Chemical Sciences building and the renovation of Bagley Hall.
  • $38.9 million for energy renewal and decarbonization projects, including centralized chilled water capacity improvements in Seattle, gas boiler replacements at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, HVAC systems renewal at UWMC-Montlake, and central utility planning at UWMC-Northwest.
  • $5 million for Harborview Medical Center for siting and design costs for the Behavioral Health Institute building and Pioneer Square behavioral health clinic.
  • $2.58 million to renovate the UW soccer practice field for the 2026 World Cup.

Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter. If you missed my previous updates on gun safetypublic educationenvironmental protections, affordable housing, LGBTQ+ rights, public safety, transportation, or health care, they are available on my website. Please reach out with any questions at

Best wishes,