The Daily: House passes bill to give tuition-setting authority to Regents

The Washington state House of Representatives voted 79 to 17 Monday to give tuition-setting authority to the state’s public universities for the next four years.

House Bill 1795 (HB 1795), sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, hands over tuition-setting authority for the UW from the Legislature to the UW Board of Regents.

Norm Arkans, UW associate vice president for media relations and communication, said that the UW administration has been in favor of the bill the whole time it’s been in the House.

“We have supported the bill all along, and we’re very pleased that it passed the House,” he said.

The ASUW took a different stance on the bill. At its April 28 meeting, the ASUW Board of Directors agreed to support HB 1795 only if it included an amendment that adds two additional student seats to the Board of Regents. Rep. Derek Stanford submitted an amendment requesting the additional student regents last Monday, but the amendment did not gain the support to be included in the final bill.

Madeleine McKenna, president of the ASUW, said that students are disappointed that the bill passed without the amendment they proposed, which would have provided more protection for students.

“The legislative session isn’t over yet,” McKenna said. “We’re going to continue working with the Senate as they work on their version of the bill.”

Quinn Majeski, director of the ASUW’s Office of Governmental Relations (OGR), said that OGR is disappointed that its efforts to include the student-regent amendment were unsuccessful.

“The bill passed without the student-regent amendment we proposed,” Majeski said. “We’re definitely disappointed with the result. … I don’t anticipate much of an opening to try to stop this bill [in the Senate].”

McKenna said that the passage of the bill means that students need to have a say in the university budget and tuition-setting. One measure to bring student voice into the university’s budget-setting process created this year by the ASUW is the Provost’s Advisory Committee for Students, which will be a student-run committee that makes recommendations to the provost about budgeting, tuition-setting and financial decisions for the university.

“Now more than ever, the student voice is needed in the budget-setting process on campus,” McKenna said. “Students need to be a major part of that discussion. … The Provost’s Advisory Committee is a greater step in that direction, but more work needs to be done.”

HB 1795 will now go to the Senate for consideration. If it passes there, it will be negotiated on by a conference committee and given to the governor for her approval.

Reach reporter Sarah Schweppe at