State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is a major supporter of higher education and the architect of a bill that gave the state’s universities tuition-setting authority two years ago. So it’s worth hearing what he has to say about Monday’s offer by state university presidents to freeze tuition – just as long as the Legislature gives them an additional $225 million over the biennium.
His take: He’s sympathetic , “but there’s no way in the world anyone could responsibly do that when they’re not promising to move the needle on the accountability metrics, which they helped design.”
Carlyle is referring to the State Public Four-Year Dashboard, a recently released website that looks at things like graduation rates and the time it takes to complete a degree at the state’s six four-year schools.
He says some schools are slipping on degree completion time, meaning that more students are taking longer than four years to finish their degrees. “To me, that is absolutely unacceptable for a student to slip into a fifth year due to their inability to get access to a course,” he said. An extra year of college means more students will go deeper into debt to pay for their educations.
“I just expect more from them,” Carlyle said of the universities. “We’ve got to make progress on access, affordability and quality metrics.”