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Options for Higher Education Tuition Growth Factors

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Annie Pennucci - January 2016

The 2015 Washington State Legislature reduced public resident undergraduate tuition in 2015 and limited future tuition increases to no more than the average annual percentage growth in Washington’s median hourly wage. The legislature also directed WSIPP to examine how this median hourly wage “growth factor” will affect tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities and to study alternative metrics for limiting tuition increases. This report describes alternative tuition growth factors including hourly wages, total income, and inflation indices. We also discuss a potential growth factor related to student affordability as directed in legislation.

This report was revised in April 2016 to correct community and technical college tuition data.

Report ID: 16-01-2301

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