University of Washington Is Among Top 10 Best Public College Values--But for How Long?

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The good news: Kiplinger magazine thinks that despite "painful, ongoing budget cuts," the University of Washington is still the 10th best value in the country among public colleges. The bad news: Because of those painful, ongoing, and not-likely-to-end-soon budget cuts, that ranking isn't built to last.

The problem is that right now the UW, like a lot of institutions that rely on state funding, is slowly bleeding to death. The only answer, lest Montlake downsize into something resembling a more scenic Strayer University: higher tuition.

To that end, last week Gov. Chris Gregoire's Higher Education Funding Task Force came back with a recommendation to allow state schools to raise tuition to whatever levels they see fit, rather than being bound to the current cap of a 14 percent increase per year.

The UW has already said it won't push for legislative change this session, correctly gauging that fighting for the right to raise its rates while also lobbying for more cash from the state would make it look like a teenager asking his parents for $20 and the run of the family debit card.

But that doesn't mean the hikes won't happen sooner rather than later.

Gregoire spokesperson Scott Whiteaker tells Seattle Weekly that the governor--the first person in her family to go to college, as she is wont to remind us--is working on a bill that will include tuition increases. And while Whiteaker couldn't offer specifics, it's thought that the price of a Husky education could go up by as much as 50 percent.

Still a value? Maybe so. But likely not enough of one to make anyone's top 10 list.

 
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