Lawmakers consider 1 percent loans for college students

  • Sunday, February 10, 2019 11:34am
  • News

By Emma Scher

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

New law erases or extends statute of limitations for various sex crimes

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau There will be no statute… Continue reading

Hacker blackmails resident | Island Scanner

The following items were selected from reports made to the Island County… Continue reading

Mock car crash, trial planned at school

South Whidbey High school students, in collaboration with South Whidbey Fire/EMT, the… Continue reading

South Whidbey students speak up about schools during public meeting

‘What steps are you going to take right now to protect our education?’

COER considering Growler lawsuit

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, is considering litigation against the U.S.… Continue reading

Photos by Maria Matson/ Whidbey News Group.
                                Mark Stewart’s tractor has come in handy for Boots to Roots. He’s tilled the soil twice so far, and will do so one more time.
Growing a new program at Greenbank Farm

Veterans become farmers in Boots to Roots

Body identified as suspect in Camano Island killing

By Zachariah Bryan zbryan@heraldnet.com Authorities have used lab results to confirm a… Continue reading

Callison to seek second term as Langley mayor

Seats on city council and school board will be up for grabs this year

Taming Bigfoot

Challenge kicks off Earth Day efforts on Whidbey Island

Most Read