Friday, March 29, 2013

Gov's budget, eLearning innovations, funding dreams

Approaching the three-quarter mark of the session, things are about to get interesting —  and the stakes higher — as budgets percolate and bills of interest are considered in hearings and floor votes.

Governor Inslee releases Working Washington budget priorities

Yesterday, Governor Inslee released his Working Washington 2013-15 budget priorities which call for $1.2 billion in new targeted education investments tied to strong accountability measures.
“I feel deeply that my number one priority is to help rebuild our economy, get people working again, and take important steps toward building a workforce for the future,” said Inslee. “And that begins with education.”
Stay tuned for details about implications for the CTCs.

Washington Dream Act gets hearing

The Senate Higher Education Committee heard testimony yesterday on Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1817 which would extend eligibility for state financial aid to undocumented immigrant students often referred to as “DREAMers.” The bill does not create eligibility for federal financial aid.
Prime sponsor Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, said the bill syncs financial aid policy with current tuition policy (which allows undocumented students who have attended at least three years of high school and graduated in the U.S. to pay in-state tuition).
It doesn’t affect a lot of students, he said, “But if it affects you, it’s a big deal. These are students who went to our high schools and are attending our colleges. They are the ones who will be representing Washington, selling [everything from apples to aerospace] in a global economy.”
Co-sponsor Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said the bill is not about federal immigration reform and not about funding higher education; but rather, states a policy that if someone grows up and graduates from a Washington state high school, they will be treated the same as any other Washington high school graduate.
“It does not give any special privilege. But it allows students active, engaged, and visible. [These students] are in my community, your community,” he said. “Higher education allows them to be the best they can be. My community will be better off if they are able to exercise engagement and leadership in the full life of my community.”
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said that children of undocumented adults came here not by choice, but grew up here and went to our schools, succeeding academically, and working their way through college. ”These are our children, these are Washingtonians, these are Americans, and I think we should treat them as any of our children.”
Several panels of students, K-12 education administrators, and citizens in favor of the bill alternated with panels of concerned citizens opposed to the bill.
Mark Mitsui, North Seattle Community College president, asked the committee to fully fund the State Need Grant and to also allow undocumented students to be eligible.
“We have a skills gap with high-demand, high-wage jobs waiting,” he said, “We have people ready and willing to earn the college degrees to fill those jobs. [This policy change] will provide long-term return on investment that will pay off for generations in higher tax revenues.”

Innovations work session

On Wednesday, the House Higher Education Committee held a work session on innovations in higher education, including Washington State University’s Global campus, the University of Washington’s new online degree, and community and technical college online learning opportunities and resources for students and faculty.
Connie Broughton, SBCTC eLearning and open education coordinator, described how technology-based solutions and online delivery make higher education possible for many; especially working students and those with children.
Broughton described how the SBCTC Strategic Technology Plan underpins the system’s efforts to use technology to improve teaching and learning with negotiated single system contracts that can be locally managed.
“Instead of trying to build [write software applications, code and programming], we negotiate single system contracts,” she said. “This has provided us with tremendous savings. The campuses are then able to decide locally how to use and implement the tools.”
Broughton described the Western eTutoring Consortium. Each of the 44 member colleges contributes tutoring hours and pays an institutional fee. The service is free to students and low-cost for colleges. The service does not replace in-person tutoring and does not reduce costs for the colleges, but allows students 24/7 access to tutoring services.
Quill West, Tacoma Community College open education resource (OER) project director, gave an overview of the system’s Open Course Library (OCL) project and TCC’s OER efforts.
Faculty have developed course materials for the 82 most common classes in the CTCs, with the primary goal of developing high quality courses with materials and texts costing $30 or less per class. The complete OCL site is in the final stages and will be released in April.
“[Washington is] a national leader in open education resources,” West said.
“We will have saved students over $5 million in textbook costs by this summer with an initial investment of $1.5 million,” West said. That number includes only those teachers who developed and delivered the OCL materials. Because the resources are globally accessible, with no tracking required, it’s difficult to know how many others have used the materials.
“The important thing is freedom. Not only from cost, but in adopting the curriculum,” she said. “The OCL is an invitation process, meaning we don’t force faculty; we invite them to use OER and find, adapt, and choose the best tools and resources.”
West described TCC’s goal of saving students $250,000 in one academic year (three quarters) through the adoption of free and low-cost learning resources. Just two quarters into the project, they’re more than halfway to that goal, having saved students $128,000.
As more instructors offer more OER courses each quarter, the number of textbooks TCC students don’t have to buy keeps going up. This year, 1,500 TCC students have saved $70 to $350 each.
Broughton described the migration of the colleges to Canvas learning management system. To date, 33 of the 34 colleges are already using or in the process of migrating to Canvas.
“The most important thing,” Broughton said, “is that when students move from college to college, or class to class, they will have the same online learning environment.”
Canvas is mobile-app ready; which is important, since more and more students are using mobile devices for their primary online access.
The shared programming and shared professional development give a very favorable cost for 40 institutions. In addition to the CTCs, six of the four-year public universities are taking advantage of the shared contract: University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Central Washington University, Washington State University Spokane, and The Evergreen State College.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bills, bills, bills

As another committee cut-off date approaches next week, legislators are focused on hearing bills and deciding whether or not they pass to the next committee. Bills impacting the community and technical college system continue to move through the Legislature as higher education issues remain a topic of conversation at the state Capitol.

Senate committee hears State Need Grant bill

The House Higher Education Committee held a hearing yesterday on SSB 5195 which expands State Need Grant (SNG) eligibility to Western Governors University (WGU) students. Currently, these students are not eligible to apply or receive SNG financial aid.

Former CTC and current WGU students testified in support of this bill with many citing access as a barrier to their higher education needs.

Jean Floten, WGU chancellor, said the bill is about accessibility for students at a university geared toward working adults. Floten, a former Bellevue College president, noted that the missions of WGU and CTCs are similar in that both have an open door policy to benefit any student wanting to earn a degree or certificate. WGU has 1,861 students that have transferred from the CTC system, a number that continues to grow (Washington Student Achievement Council).

Prime sponsor Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the bill is about equity and providing opportunities for all students wanting to further their careers. “[I consider this] truly to be a jobs bill, particularly for the more rural and geographically challenged parts of our state.”

Link to testimony.

Veterans early registration bill heard

The Senate Higher Education Committee held a public hearing yesterday on HB 1109 Tuesday that makes it easier for veterans entering higher education institutions.

Prime sponsor Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, testified to the importance of ensuring the state’s veterans have access to higher education opportunities. “[This bill] makes it easier for veterans to train for new careers by going back to school … We are winding down two wars at the same time we’ve been cutting higher education,” Hansen said.

Scott Copeland, SBCTC policy associate, testified in support, explaining how it will help veteran students be successful, “This is a great bill for [the CTC system] ... The earlier we can get veteran students — and sometimes their families — registered, enrolled, and ready to roll, then they can begin that process and not wait for book money, housing money, or tuition money to arrive on our college campuses.”

Others testifying in support of the bill included the Veterans Legislative Coalition and the Council of Presidents.

Link to testimony (begins at 1:05).

Job Skills Program bill heard

Yesterday, the Senate Higher Education Committee heard SHB 1247 that assists small businesses wanting to participate in the Job Skills Program by eliminating the dollar-for-dollar match currently required under state law.

Prime sponsor Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, explained how the bill would further assist businesses looking to train new and incumbent workers. “[This bill] makes it easier for small businesses to train their employees in partnership with the community colleges … it is a win-win … [it helps create] real transferrable skills and credentials,” Hansen said.

Anna Nikolaeva, SBCTC Job Skills Program administrator, testified in support of the bill and shared how current program guidelines disproportionately impacts small businesses. Nikolaeva shared, “[This bill] reduces financial requirements for small businesses and allows participation for small businesses in this program. The current dollar-for-dollar match simply prices small businesses out of this program.”

Mark Mitsui, North Seattle Community College president, shared how the Job Skills Program has led to increased economic growth in the community. “Economic development is a major focal area of our college. We believe we are here to help businesses and our local neighborhoods flourish … the return on investment [for the Jobs Skills Program] is pretty incredible. We think that if we can reach more small businesses in our area, we’re going to be able to serve more local residents and see some improvement for the entire area,” Mitsui testified.

Keith Zeiler, Vaupell general manager, testified in support of the bill, sharing Vaupell’s success after using the Job Skills Program to skill up its workforce. Vaupell manufactures thermoplastic and composite products for aircraft interiors, medical, and commercial markets. “This program works,” Zeiler said. “In the past two years I’ve hired 145 people … 250 employees have gone through 70,000 hours of Lean training which has led to productivity improvements … [Vaupell] could not have done any of this without the support of North Seattle Community College.”

Link to the SBCTC Job Skills Program.

Link to testimony (begins at 1:11).

Walla Walla Community College earns top honors

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program presented Walla Walla Community College with the award for Community College Excellence on March 19.

Along with co-awardee, Santa Barbara City College, WWCC was selected from more than 1,000 public community colleges nationwide and will receive $400,000 for program support.

This award is nationally recognized for high achievement and performance in the community college system. Higher education institutions are selected for outstanding achievement in degree completion, student job placement after college, and helping low-income students succeed.

Josh Wyner, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program executive director, celebrated WWCC’s community partnerships to better assist students entering the job market. “Walla Walla Community College’s visionary leaders stay on top of local economic job trends and job growth, and the entire college provides the kind of excellent training that students need to access well-paying jobs and that employers know will ensure future investments in the regional economy will pay off,” Wyner said.

Link to award press release.

Bills move during executive session on Tuesday

The House Higher Education Committee voted the following bills out of committee:

·       SSB 5195 – expanding State Need Grant to WGU students

·       SB 5318 – removing one-year waiting period for veterans to be eligible for resident tuition

·       2SSB 5624 – aligning STEM programs with applied baccalaureate programs

·       SB 5712 – encouraging CTCs to use multiple assessment measures

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted the following bills out of committee:

·       HB 1109 – early registration for student veterans

·       SHB 1247 – Job Skills Program

·       SHB 1686 – changing ‘GED’ to ‘high school equivalency’ in statue

·       SHB 1736 – increasing operating efficiencies in higher education institutions

Friday, March 22, 2013

All-Academic team honored, CTCs shine at open house; revenue flat

The last few days have been busy for CTCs! News about the state revenue forecast, committee hearings focusing on tuition and high school equivalency exam fees; and events honoring students and CTC programs have resulted in a bright spotlight on community and technical colleges this week.

Revenue and caseload forecast
The revenue forecast Wednesday was relatively good news, all things considered. It is basically flat; up $59 million this biennium, down $19 million next, for a net increase of $40 million.

 "Flat is the new up when it comes to forecasts," said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, lead budget writer for the House. "This forecast takes a bad problem and doesn't make it worse."

The bad news came last week in the caseload forecast. Caseload costs are up $300 million. Additionally, a recent court decision has added $160 million in costs to the balance sheet.

OFM is characterizing the budget shortfall faced by the Legislature to be $500 million worse than Governor Gregoire solved in her budget proposal last December.

The Senate is expected to release a budget proposal as early as late next week.

Committee hears CTC budget, tuition process
The House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday heard testimony about the unique budget and tuition-setting processes for the state's community and technical college system.

Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director, gave an overview of how the State Board creates a budget in partnership with the entire CTC system. "[The SBCTC has] a system-wide approach to the budget…the Legislature appropriates [funding for] the entire community and technical college system," Brown said. "We gather input from everywhere – we start with students and we end with students … we do this all before we submit [our budget request] to the Governor in September."

Nick Lutes, SBCTC operating budget director, provided committee members with an historical overview of tuition rates at CTCs. Lutes said, "After double-digit tuition increases, [Washington has] jumped above the national average, we're currently 14th [in the nation]."

Dr. Elizabeth Chen, State Board member, explained the nine-member state board's role in determining tuition increases. "Setting tuition is very important and is the most difficult decision to make… [State board members] seek input from our students, presidents, and trustees," Chen said. She also shared with committee members that with nearly half of CTC students using some form of financial aid, even a slight change in tuition can make a dramatic difference in obtaining a degree or certificate.
Top two-year college students honored
More than 300 people gathered Thursday at South Puget Sound Community College to honor the 2013 All-Washington Academic Team.

For the 18th year, the ceremony provided an opportunity for community and technical college students to be recognized for their academic achievements and community involvement.

Governor Jay Inslee was on hand to praise the team members and their achievements.
"You can go the length and breadth of the state of Washington; we have a lot of amazing people doing amazing things. They're developing the world's best software, they're world-class aerospace engineers. But the single most inspiring story in the State of Washington today is about our community and technical colleges," he said.

"These are the places where people come from all walks of life, at all times during their lives, with all kinds of hopes and aspirations, and overcome all kinds of personal barriers…to find a way to fulfill their personal ambitions. There's nothing else we do that gives more bang for the buck, than community and technical colleges. And the facts bear that out."

This year's academic team was made up of 65 students representing the 34 colleges.

Each team member received a $500 scholarship from KeyBank of Washington.

The top award — the 2013 New Century Scholar award of $2,000 — went to Heike Rodriguez,North Seattle Community College.
Second ranked team member, Jemimah Kamau, Highline Community College, received a $1,000 Trustee Scholarship from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC).
Three students tied for a $1,000 TACTC Scholarship: David Vo, South Puget Sound Community College; Koshin Ono, Peninsula College; and Nikole Wyles, Wenatchee Valley College.

Vo was also named a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar (one of just 50 nationwide) and received an additional $1,250 from Coca-Cola.

Nikole Wyles, Wenatchee Valley College, and Theresa Carr, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, were both named Coca-Cola Bronze Scholars (two of only 50 nationwide) and each receives an additional $1,000 from Coca-Cola.

Eight members of the team received a $250 scholarship from the Washington State Employees Credit Union: Theresa Carr, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom; Delanie Willows, Centralia College; Cynthia Beatty, Big Bend Community College; Hatha Dam, Bellevue College; Maryann Hirning, Lower Columbia College; Kathryn Gonzalez, Clark College; Chun Hei Tam, Tacoma Community College; and Amy Hooper, Spokane Falls Community College.

In addition, every state public and private four-year baccalaureate institution and City University offered scholarships to attend their institutions.
Replacing GED in statute
SHB 1686, replacing the trademarked term GED with "high school equivalency" in statute, was heard in the Senate Higher Education Committee on Thursday. Prime sponsor Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, explained the meaning behind the legislation. "The purpose of the bill is to re-label our high school equivalency test from GED to keep in time with the commercial times… there will be at least a couple of alternatives we can look at in a year or two."
Jacquie Armstrong, SBCTC policy associate, testified in support of the bill, explaining the need to keep costs down for students and increase flexibility for alternative exams. "[This bill] allows [the SBCTC] to consider alternative tests… we want the opportunity for our students and citizens to have…the most cost effective, most relevant, highest quality test [available]."
Other organizations signing in to support the bill included the Department of Early Learning and the Workforce Board.
Open house draws a crowd
Last night's Legislative Open House gave presidents, trustees, staff, and students an opportunity to visit with legislators an opportunity.
Hosted by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges, and Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges, the event showcased how Washington CTCs contribute to economic prosperity and help put people to work.
Guests participated in interactive demonstrations featuring in-demand STEM-related programs and interacted with faculty and students.
Featured programs:
● Computer-Numerically-Controlled Precision Machining – Lake Washington Institute for Technology
● Dental Hygiene – Yakima Valley Community College
● Instrumentation Technology – Bellingham Technical College
● Nursing/Allied Health – South Seattle Community College
● Smart Grid Energy Efficiency – Centralia College, Grays Harbor College, Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy, Spokane Institute for Extended Learning, Wenatchee Valley College
● Robotics and Electronics – Edmonds Community College
Guests sampled student-created wines and chocolates presented by:
College Cellars of Walla Walla Community College, Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle Community College
Bellingham Technical College, Lake Washington Institute for Technology, South Seattle Community College culinary arts programs

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Students testify, bills heard

The Legislature is back in committee hearings this week and CTCs have been front and center. Topics discussed include multiple assessment and innovative curricula to help improve student outcomes, as well as diversity demographics on CTC campuses statewide.

Encouraging multiple measures for precollege course placement

The House Higher Education Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on Senate Bill 5712 from its prime sponsor Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

The bill requires the SBCTC to:

● Encourage colleges to use multiple measures to determine whether a student must enroll in a pre-college course including, but not limited to, placement tests, the SAT, high school transcripts, college transcripts, or initial class performance. Also requires colleges to post all available options for course placement on websites and admissions materials.
● Direct colleges to include information in admissions materials and websites promoting the different ways students can be assessed for placement into classes.

Kohl-Welles expressed long-standing concern about remediation at the post-secondary level, especially at the CTCs, and said, "Some students could benefit from a brush-up rather than spending a lot of time and tuition."

She described innovations underway for placing students into appropriate courses so they can progress into regular college-level programs:

● Self-paced classes or tutoring to allow students to show proficiency and move on.
● Students take pre-college courses tailored to their needs rather than several classes.
● Pre-college math integrated along with science
● Multiple measures to determine student placement in coursework, such as high school transcripts or SAT scores.

Kohl-Welles highlighted the recent visit by representatives of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to community and technical colleges to hear their success stories and challenges in preparing students for college-level work:

Everett Community College, where streamlined, self-paced math classes allow students to complete their studies faster. Free study sessions, facilitated by a trained tutor, boost the average participant's grade by one letter. The college also offers math-placement testing at some high schools so students discover whether they're prepared for college math and are encouraged to continue their studies.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology, which offers programs that allow students to move through multiple levels of pre-college English and math courses simultaneously, saving months to years of schooling and associated tuition. The accelerated math program enjoys a 93 percent success rate.
Lower Columbia College, where new pre-college English students study together in the same class, progress and earn credits at their own pace, and then move into the next level without having to go through a step-by-step sequence. The college also offers Integrated Transitional Studies (I-TRANS), which allows students to achieve more than one level of English or math in a single quarter.
North Seattle Community College students move through pre-college classes quickly -- and check off some of their college prerequisites -- by taking classes that combine pre-college English with English 101 and pre-college math with science. Many of the pre-college math courses are designed to take two quarters instead of three. In bi-weekly "Reflection Fridays," math and English faculty review students' progress and identify ways to help them succeed.
Tacoma Community College, where STEM students can take a specially designed pre-college math course that offers an introduction to pre-calculus rather than intermediate algebra. The college also offers "Statway," a two-quarter class for liberal arts and social science majors that fulfills the college-level math requirement and focuses on statistics, considered to be most relevant for many career choices.

Who takes pre-college courses?

Pre-college courses (also referred to as remedial or developmental education) allow people to brush up on English and math skills so they can enroll in college-level courses and earn certificates and degrees. Students in these classes have either been out of school for several years and need a refresher on high school-level math or English, or they recently graduated from high school but are not up to college-level coursework.

Twenty-three percent of all four-year university graduates in Washington took at least one pre-college class, usually in math. At Washington community and technical colleges, pre-college students make up 10 percent of all state-supported enrollments, more than half of whom have been out of high school for at least three years.

Link to testimony (begins at: 30).

CTCs serve students of color

During the same hearing, members of the House Higher Education Committee heard how community and technical colleges are helping students of color succeed.

Edward Esparza, SBCTC student services policy associate, testified about the important role CTCs play in educating this student population and shared data to that effect. "Community colleges are a major gateway for students of color in Washington to obtain a college education. It bodes true with the college mission, the State Board mission, to serve all that enter its doors."

Dr. Jeff Wagnitz, Highline Community College vice president for academic affairs, shared how Highline successfully modified programs to better prepare students in reaching educational goals. "[Highline Community College] did a fair number of focus groups and classroom conversations ... [students] had work to do before getting to [their] first general education or workforce course. It was creating pretty significant barriers."

Jason Latimer, Bates Technical College student, testified about how his positive experience at the Students of Color Conference led him to further participation in similar programs at Bates. Latimer is pursuing a facility maintenance engineering degree at Bates and a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) degree at Clover Park Technical College.

BophaPhuong Keo, Highline Community College student, testified that language was a significant barrier. Originally from Cambodia, Keo began her higher education degree track with ESL classes, successfully obtaining a scholarship. Next spring, Keo will graduate with an associate of science transfer degree.

Iryna Stakhov, Highline Community College student, testified that the Highline Transition Center helped her make a smooth transition from ESL classes to setting career goals. Originally from Ukraine, Stakhov's ESL classes helped her overcome a language barrier, apply for financial aid, and successfully participate in a Work Study program. Stakhov is pursuing an advanced degree in visual communications.

Link to testimony (begins at 10:30).

Regulatory relief bill heard

On Tuesday, the Senate Higher Education Committee heard House Bill 1736, concerning higher education operating efficiencies.

Prime sponsor Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, described the administrative burden faced by colleges and universities required to submit duplicative federal and state reports.

Both bills would impact several practices in higher education and state agencies:

● Requires OFM to work with other state agencies on a comprehensive review of reporting requirements related to energy code building standards and greenhouse gas emissions, and make recommendations for coordinating and streamlining.
● Allow state colleges and universities to use or accept electronic signatures for human resource, benefits, or payroll processes that require a signature.
● Authorize the Student Achievement Council to enter into reciprocity agreements for online education with other states on behalf of Washington's public colleges and universities.

Barbara McCullough, Grays Harbor College vice president of administrative services, said their campus sustainability efforts are a priority and supports the need to reduce greenhouse gases. Facilities staff has been reduced during budget cuts, so the bill would bring welcomed streamlining.

Julie Murray, Office of Financial Management, requested the deadline for recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature's higher education committees be extended to 2014, instead of December 1, 2013. She said other public entities are also required to submit the same greenhouse gas and energy standards reports and suggested expanding the bill to include them.

Connie Broughton, SBCTC eLearning and open education coordinator, testified in support and said allowing the Student Achievement Council to work on behalf of Washington colleges and universities will reduce redundant administrative work for individual schools.

Presently, each college must enter into an agreement with each state — even if only one student from that state is enrolled — who wants to take one of their on-line courses. This one-to-one arrangement creates a lot of workload for relatively few students at a college. She cited the example of Pierce College's many military students, enrolled in courses in 46 different states.

Margaret Shepard, University of Washington director of state relations, spoke in favor of the bill on behalf of the Council of Presidents.

Its companion Senate Bill 5736 passed and awaits floor action.

Testimony on TVW (begins at 01:04:20).

Preview of next edition

The Friday edition of Legislative News will include a summary of additional committee action, details of the State Revenue Forecast, and other events impacting community and technical colleges.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Floor cutoff passes, bills still in play

With another significant cutoff date in the rearview mirror, the Legislature has further narrowed the number of bills left to be considered this session. After Wednesday’s 5 p.m. House of Origin deadline, many bills impacting CTCs are still left standing.

STEM pathways

2SSB 5624 creates a high school-to-community and technical college STEM pathway by requiring the further development of STEM-specific applied baccalaureate programs, subject to available funding. Prime sponsor Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell,  spoke in favor of the bill and the value of CTCs in expanding high-demand STEM degree programs.

“This really creates a pathway from K-12 into our community and technical colleges in the high-demand fields of STEM. It also is an opportunity for our students to go into the STEM fields at the tuition rate of a community and technical college and to…become skilled in the high-demand jobs that are out there today. There are community and technical colleges who have definitely contributed to this STEM career and that is Bellevue College, Centralia College, Columbia Basin, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Olympic College, Peninsula, Seattle Central Community [College] and South Seattle Community College,” McAuliffe said.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, Senate Higher Education chair, also spoke in favor of the bill. “For quite some time, we’ve been trying to do everything that we can to stimulate the STEM programs in our community colleges and our baccalaureate degrees. We also in this bill begin to look more closely at what’s going on in our high schools and hopefully be able to make sure that there is the connection that is needed between our high schools, K-12 and CTCs as well as our 4-year universities in the STEM program[s],” Bailey said.

2SSB 5624 passed the Senate 48-1.

Link to Senate floor action (begins at 24:00).

State Need Grant eligibility

A number of bills related to the State Need Grant program have been introduced this session. Those passing cutoff include ESHB 1817, providing eligibility for undocumented immigrant students and SSB 5195 that expands eligibility for students at certain nonprofit institutions.

ESHB 1817 passed the House 77-20 (1 excused) and SB 5195 passed the Senate 47-2.

Assistance for students with military background

Students with a military background have support from both the House and Senate this session. SB 5318 removes the one-year waiting period for veterans or active military members to be eligible for resident tuition. SHB 1858 requires that higher education institutions adopt a policy awarding academic credit for prior military service. HB 1109 requires colleges to have a process by the 2013-14 academic year to offer early registration for eligible students who are veterans or National Guard members.

SB 5318 passed the Senate 48-0 (1 excused), referred to House Higher Education. SHB 1858 passed the House 97-0 (1 excused). HB 1109 passed the House 98-0.

Other bills that passed floor cutoff:

·       HB 1043 – eliminating differential tuition. Passed the House 95-1 (2 excused), referred to Senate Higher Education.

·       ESHB 1247 – eliminating the dollar for dollar match for small businesses participating in the Job Skills Program. Passed the House 98-0, referred to Senate Higher Education.

·       HB 1348 – requires increments for faculty as negotiated in local agreements. Passed the House 61-36 (1 excused), referred to Senate Commerce and Labor.

·       SHB 1472 – expands access to computer science education. Passed the House 95-3, referred to Early Learning and K-12 Education.

·       SHB 1536 – requires one business and labor representative on boards of trustees. Passed the House 58-40, referred to Senate Higher Education.

·       SHB 1686 – replaces “general equivalency diploma” with “high school equivalency” to provide flexibility in test options. Passed the House 98-0, scheduled for a hearing in Senate Higher Education March 21.

·       HB 1736 – providing operating efficiencies. Passed the House 98-0, scheduled for a hearing in Senate Higher Education March 19.

·       ESHB 1769 – providing capital efficiencies. Passed the House 97-1, referred to Senate Ways and Means.

·       SHB 1843 – monitoring and evaluating compliance of financial aid program rules. Passed the House 93-4 (1 excused), referred to Senate Higher Education.

·       ESHB 1872 – Governor-request STEM education. Passed the House 58-40, scheduled for a hearing in Senate Early Learning and K-12 March 20. Companion SSB 5755 passed the Senate 48-0 (1 excused), scheduled for a hearing in House Education March 22.

·        HCR 4403 – resolution adopting the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board’s strategic plan for state workforce development. Passed the House 91-6 (1 excused), referred to Senate Higher Education.

·        SSB 5180 – creates a taskforce to improve higher education access for students with disabilities. Passed the Senate 49-0, received a public hearing in House Higher Education March 12.

·        SB 5712 – encourages colleges to use multiple student assessment tools. Passed the Senate 49-0, scheduled for a hearing in House Higher Education March 19.

·       SSB 5774 – allows a permit for alcohol tasting for adults under age 21. Passed the Senate 42-7, scheduled for a hearing in House Government Accountability and Oversight March 21.

Governor provides CTC grant funding

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced $18 million in grant funding for projects at 12 higher education institutions and 37 local governments, creating more than 500 construction jobs.

Energy Efficiency Program Grants were awarded through a competitive process and are used for cost saving energy improvements. Last year, the Legislature appropriated $20 million to higher education with two rounds of awards.

Among the first recipients announced in August 2012 was the Community Colleges of Spokane that installed a control system in two buildings to maximize energy efficiency. The new control system is expected to save approximately $12,000 annually. “The new controls make the buildings more comfortable for everyone. The energy savings are reinvested right back into other energy efficiency projects. We are marching through the campus buildings one at a time and making them more energy efficient. This grant gave us a good start,” said Dennis Dunham, director of facilities. 

Round two grant recipients include the following community and technical colleges:

·       Big Bend Community College ($472,032)

·       Community Colleges of Spokane ($80,000)

·       Green River Community College ($453,000)

·       Highline Community College ($196,877)

·       Olympic College ($1,025,000)

·       Pierce College ($825,000)

·       Shoreline Community College ($349,643)

·       Yakima Valley Community College ($503,000)  

Gov. Inslee supports the Energy Efficiency Grant Program and sees it as an important step in strengthening the state’s economy. “This is precisely the sort of program we need as we work to rebuild our economy,” Inslee said. “These grants will reduce energy costs, provide training opportunities to students and create jobs in the clean energy sector.”

The Washington State Department of Commerce has additional details on statewide energy efficiency.

Poll results promising for CTCs

A recent College Promise Coalition poll shows Washington State citizens overwhelming approve of the state’s higher education performance. Out of the 600 voters polled in February of this year, results include:

·       People feel personally tied to Washington’s higher education system.

·       Voters know there is a problem in higher education funding, and recognize the connection between higher education and economic development.

·       Financial aid is important, including the College Bound and Guaranteed Education Tuition Programs.

·       Additional funding is needed for state colleges and universities.


Founded in 2011, the College Promise Coalition is a partnership between Washington’s colleges and universities with other stakeholders to ensure access to affordable, quality education for students across the state.

The College Promise Coalition has more information.

Legislator hosts higher education chat

Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), chair of House Higher Education is hosting a legislative web discussion on Monday, March 18 from noon to Seaquist will discuss higher education issues and answer questions from students, faculty, administrators, and others interested in participating.

Hosted on the House Democratic Caucus website, participants can submit their email address to receive an event reminder.

Preview of next edition

Next week’s edition of Legislative News will include a summary of committee action and details of the March 20 State Revenue Forecast, an important milestone for legislators writing this year’s state budget. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Legislature hits halfway mark, bills moving

Today marks day 52 — the halfway point of this 105-day session — as several bills of interest live on for consideration in committee hearings and floor votes.

Bills still standing after cut-off

The following bills survived the first policy and budget cut-offs and await possible action on their respective floors. Budget bills and bills considered "necessary to implement the budget" (labeled *NTIB) are exempt from early cut-off deadlines. The status of bills of interest to community and technical colleges are listed below. For more detail on each bill, visit


2013-2015 capital budget

HB 1089 (Dunshee) and SB 5035 (Honeyford) funds all requested minor work, designs, and seven (of eight) major construction projects. (*NTIB)
In House Capital Budget Committee. SB 5035 in Senate Ways and Means.

Concerning higher education operating efficiencies (non-capital regulatory relief)

HB 1736 (Zeiger) and SB 5736 (Bailey) require OFM to work with the Department of Enterprise Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, colleges and universities, and others to make recommendations for coordinating and streamlining various reporting requirements. Allows institutions of higher education and state higher education agencies to use or accept electronic signatures.
Authorizes the Washington Student Achievement Council to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements to simplify the process for delivering online education to students in another state. Currently, each college must enter into an agreement with every state in which it has even one student enrolled, which creates a heavy workload.
HB 1736 passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education. SB 5736 is in Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

Creating efficiencies for institutions of higher education (capital regulatory relief)

SHB 1769 (Stonier) increases the threshold for a predesign from $5 million to $10 million and increases the maximum value for a minor work project from $2 million to $5 million, for higher education. The bill keeps the current requirement for the Legislature to approve Certificates of Participation (COPs).
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Providing a funding source to improve education (capital gains tax)

SB 5738 (Murray) creates a capital gains tax to fund K-12 and higher education. If signed into law, the bill will go before the public for a vote. (*NTIB)
In Senate Ways and Means.

Educational programs

Inmate postsecondary education degree programs

SHB 1429 (Seaquist) would allow the Department of Corrections to fund college degree programs in prison. Current law allows the department to offer adult basic education and vocational training only.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Initiatives to improve and expand access to computer science education

SHB 1472 (Hansen) creates a grant program to support computer science professionals co-teaching high school computer science courses, if funds are appropriated. Directs the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to convene a task force to develop a plan for increasing the number of high school and college graduates who enter the workforce or continue their education in computer science.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

GED alternative

SHB 1686 (Seaquist) replaces the trademarked term “General Educational Development (GED)” with “high school equivalency certificate” in statute to allow greater flexibility in testing. Adds the requirement that SBCTC must identify and accept a high school equivalency test that is comparable in rigor to the GED, and must include testing in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The Senate companion, SB 5646, also replaces the term “GED” but does not identify the additional requirements.
Both bills are in their respective Rules committees awaiting a vote.

Providing for awarding academic credit for military training

SHB 1858 (McCoy) requires colleges and universities to adopt a policy by December 31, 2014, to award academic credit to an enrolled student who has successfully completed any military training course or program as part of his or her military service.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

STEM governor request

SHB 1872(Maxwell) and SSB 5755 (Litzow) establish a comprehensive initiative to increase learning opportunities and improve educational outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through multiple strategies and statewide partnerships.
Both bills are in their respective Rules committees awaiting a vote.

Aligning high-demand secondary STEM or career and technical education programs with applied BA programs

SSB 5624 (McAuliffe) requires OSPI to hire a statewide director of math, science, and technology to work with CTCs to develop high-demand applied baccalaureate programs that align with high school STEM and CTE programs.Requires SBCTC to select colleges to develop and offer two programs that meet the bill’s requirements. Makes legislation dependent on funding.
In Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

College employment

Collective bargaining

HB 1348 (Reykdal) requires trustees to provide step increases or increments to full- and part-time faculty as they are negotiated in local agreements, even if the amount exceeds the compensation provided by the Legislature in the state budget.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.


Boards of Trustees member composition

SHB 1536 (Seaquist) requires community college boards of trustees to include at least one member from labor and one member from business.
Passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education.

Student services

Early registration for military

HB 1109 (Hansen) requires colleges to have a process in place, beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, to offer students who are eligible veterans or National Guard members early course registration.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Improving access to higher education for students with disabilities

SSB 5180 (Shin) establishes a legislative task force on improving access to higher education for students with disabilities.
Passed Senate; referred to House Higher Education.

Encouraging colleges to use, and inform students of the use of, multiple measures to determine the need for a precollege course

SB 5712 (Kohl-Welles) requires SBCTC to encourage colleges to use multiple measures to determine whether a student must enroll in a pre-college course including, but not limited to, placement tests, the SAT, high school transcripts, college transcripts, or initial class performance. Also requires colleges to post all available options for course placement on websites and admissions materials.
Passed Senate; waiting to be referred to a House committee.

Tuition and financial aid

Resident tuition for military

HB 1011 (Appleton) removes the one-year waiting period for veterans or active members of the military to qualify for resident tuition.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Differential tuition

HB 1043 (Seaquist) removes the authority for SBCTC to pilot or institute differential tuition. (Authority was initially provided during the 2011 session and was suspended for the 2011-13 biennium during the 2012 session.) Removes the authority of four-year schools to charge differential tuition for undergraduate students.
Passed House; referred to Senate Higher Education.

Adding eligibility criteria for higher education financial aid

HB 1817 (Hudgins) allows undocumented students who have been granted a special immigration status known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” to apply for the State Need Grant – provided they also meet other state residency requirements.
In House Rules awaiting a vote.

Workforce, economic development

Job Skills Program

2SSB 5560 (Bailey) modifies the Job Skills Program (JSP) by exempting small businesses from providing a dollar-for-dollar match for training and changes priority criteria for awarding program funds; amended to remove the use of dedicated account.
In Senate Rules awaiting a vote.

2-year tuition freeze at CTCs

SB 5673 (Kohl-Welles) freezes tuition for the 2013-15 biennium at CTCs if the state appropriates $180 million in new money for the system. (*NTIB)
In Senate Ways and Means.

Key dates on the horizon

House of Origin cut-off – Wednesday, March 13

Both the Senate and House are working toward the House of Origin cutoff at 5 p.m. Wednesday. This is the last day to pass bills that were introduced in their original chamber.

Caseload Forecast – Thursday, March 14

The Caseload Forecast Council forecasts the entitlement caseloads for the State of Washington. The council meets several times a year to adopt official forecasts that are used for budget purposes.

Revenue Forecast – Wednesday, March 20

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council must approve the official forecasts by an affirmative vote of at least four members. Revenue forecasts are submitted to the governor and Legislature. The forecast is nonpartisan and is used in budget preparation.