Lawmakers consider 1 percent loans for college students

  • Friday, February 8, 2019 1:30am
  • News

By Emma Scher

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Democrats are pushing to fund a program that would give Washington state 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.

Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, Democratic Majority Leader and House Bill 1542’s prime sponsor raised concerns this week 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,” Sullivan said.

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.

Gov. 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

Daylight saving time year round passes Senate

Legislation to make daylight saving time the year-round standard passed the Senate… Continue reading

Creamery pulls milk from stores after E. coli found in sample

For a week now, raw milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery has been… Continue reading

20-30 handguns stolen after loader is used to break through gate at FREDS Guns

Business owner: ‘They tried to tear down my building to commit this crime’

Olympic Medical Center breaks ground on cancer center expansion

The Olympic Medical Center Board of Commissioners will get a 2018-2020 Strategic… Continue reading

Heralded for honoring history: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library is finalist for national award

Who: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library What: National finalist Where: 1070 Old Blyn… Continue reading

Sequim school board on track for change in election

With three board director positions up for election this fall, the Sequim… Continue reading

US Highway 101 to get overnight, single-lane closurse

Travelers can expect overnight, single-lane closures each weekday on US Highway 101… Continue reading

Sequim’s Kids Fishing Day makes splash with return

Despite a bit of precipitation early on, it was another successful Kids… Continue reading

Most Read