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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

College tuition

Stop whining and pay it back later

Erik Lowe [“Keep college tuition affordable,” guest columnist, Jan. 24] seems to be complaining about the high cost of tuition — that some students may be priced out of a college education.

I believe the in-state tuition at the University of Washington is about $7,500 per year. I think this is cheap for a student to get an undergraduate degree in the sciences, such as engineering, computers or a pharmaceuticals, landing them a job with an annual salary of $60,000 or more. I have read also that many dental hygienists make $80,000 or more.

These students should be able to pay off their education debt with little sacrifice of living standards.

Also, where are the parents in assisting with costs? Don’t parents prepare for their offsprings’ education? Don’t they have an obligation to help pay tuition? How many of parents are helping?

Students themselves should be able to get part-time employment to help pay some of their tuition.

I get tired of hearing students and others whining about the cost of a college education and asking the government (tax dollars) to pay for a part of their tuition.

It may take more than four years for some to complete school, but they should be able to do it.

— Karl Wahl, Bellevue

Don’t tax the poor to educate the rich

Regarding Erik Lowe’s column on tuition at Washington-sponsored colleges and universities, we have to keep in mind a couple of important truths.

First, it is true that the state of Washington has one of the most regressive, if not the most regressive, tax structures of all 50 states. See the Regent William Gates study for more information.

Regressively taxed individuals, the poor, pay a much higher percentage of their incomes in state taxes, from which state colleges and universities are funded.

Second, it is true that increased returns to knowledge are the primary and overwhelming reason for the increased difference between income and net worth of the rich versus the poor. The more knowledge one acquires, the more he or she will earn in his or her lifetime. See the senior economic adviser to the president, Austan Goolsbee, for this conclusion.

In the state of Washington, the poor are disproportionately funding the education of people who come from families with deep pockets, so that those people can earn superior lifetime incomes.

It just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

— Eric Tronsen, Seattle

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