SB 6131

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of January 24, 2018

Title: An act relating to a waiver of tuition for state residents who are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Brief Description: Providing a tuition waiver for state residents who are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Sponsors: Senators McCoy, Hunt, Kuderer, Saldaña, Chase and Hasegawa.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Higher Education & Workforce Development: 1/23/18.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Creates a 50 percent tuition waiver for students who are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe.


Staff: Kellee Gunn (786-7429)

Background: Tuition and Fees. There are six public baccalaureate institutions in this state, and 34 public community and technical colleges. Costs to attend college generally include tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. Costs vary depending on the type of school attended and the number of courses taken.

Waivers. Public baccalaureate institutions and community and technical colleges may authorize certain tuition waivers, exemptions, or reductions in operating fees.

A total dollar amount of tuition and fee waivers awarded by any state university, regional university, or state college shall not exceed a percentage of total gross authorized operating fees revenue forecasted by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, or as revised by the Office of Financial Management. The limitations for waivers based on total gross authorized operating fees revenue are as follows:

The waivers subject to the limitations include the following waivers:

The following waivers are not subject to the limitations described above:

Waivers are authorized at Washington State University, Central Washington University, and Eastern Washington University for students accepted through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education's Western Undergraduate Exchange. Those institutions may waive all or a portion of the difference between 50 percent of the resident tuition and fees amount and the nonresident tuition fees. They have additional limitations on the amount that may be spent on waivers as a percentage of their total gross authorized operating fees revenue.

Summary of Bill: Subject to the limitations on institutions for waivers, the governing bodies of the public baccalaureate institutions and community and technical colleges must waive 50 percent of the tuition and services and activities fees for students who meet all of the following criteria:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: This legislation was brought forward by a constituent and is modeled off other states in this country. Many states provide full-tuition waivers to members of federally recognized tribes. Inequality exists between tribal youth and their white peers. This bill will not fully bridge the gap, but is a step in the right direction.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator John McCoy, Prime Sponsor; Charles Adkins, Director of Legislative Affairs, Geoduck Student Union; Francisco Flores, Associated Students of Eastern Washington University.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.