Lawmakers consider 1 percent loans for college students

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Democrats are pushing to fund a program that would give Washington high school graduates access to state student loans at a one percent interest rate.

A program was created in 2009 to issue low-interest educational loans, but the program was never funded.

Democratic Majority Leader and House Bill 1542’s prime sponsor Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, raised concerns about students having to take out high-interest loans to get through school, and graduating with mounting debt.

“We want students to graduate with as little debt as possible,” said Sullivan.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s most recent report on student debt, Washingtonians owed $24.4 billion in student loan payments at the end of 2016.

HB 1542 would cost universities more than $1.7 million to implement, which would be funded by an increase in the Real Estate Excise Tax on properties that sell for more than $1 million. The tax on million dollar properties would go from 1.28 percent to 1.5 percent.

The money from this tax increase would go into the Washington Student Loan Account. The tax on properties that sell for $1 million or less will remain at 1.28 percent.

Tonya Drake, chancellor of Western Governors University in Washington, asked legislators to amend the bill and make the program available to all Washington residents, not just graduates of a Washington high school.

“We believe that all of Washington students and residents should have equal opportunity for these low-interest loans,” Drake said.

Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed budget also aims to fully fund the Washington College Promise, which guarantees financial aid for all students, and to increase funding for Career Connect Washington, a program created to connect high school students with good paying jobs.

HB 1542 is scheduled for an executive session on Feb. 12.

More in News

Community celebrates the last day of Central Kitsap High School

Speakers included Anne Huey, Bill Sheffield, David McVicker, Gail Danner and Craig Johnson

Disposal fees to increase at Olympic View Transfer Station July 1

Kitsap County: The per-ton garbage fees will increase, but the minimum fee of $22 will not change

Bremerton Street Closures

Announced June 21 by the City of Bremerton

Gun store suspect arrested in Las Vegas

17-year-old Chrissayn Borweick to be extradited to Kitsap County to face charges

Navy to hold meeting for disposal of aircraft carrier

Meeting will be Tuesday, June 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mountain View Middle School in Bremerton

Paving an improved pathway into Port Orchard

Tremont Street widening project nearing completion

Illegal massage parlors busted across Kitsap County

Four women have been arrested for Prostitution; additional arrests anticipated, per KCSO

BPD: Bremerton man busted with 23 grams of meth, six grams of heroin

Nathaniel Woods reportedly told officers that he was being forced to sell drugs

Buccaneers set sail over the horizon

Last Saturday was the moment Kingston High School seniors had all been… Continue reading

Most Read