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College Funding

Transparent Statement:
Funding for students to attend college is critical, but K12 must by fully funded first.

I am definitely in favor of funding for both community colleges and 4-year universities. If would be fantastic if we can find a way to make community colleges free for students.

But, before we can increase funding for colleges, we must meet our "paramount duty" to fund K12 education. After all, if students do not graduate from high school with the skills they need to excel in college — or graduate at all, for that matter — then more college funding will not make a difference.

It is easy to believe that states should not be subsidizing college students, considering that not all kids choose to go to college and financial aid is available. However, many students and parents get sticker shock at the cost and are not aware of the financial aid options.

More importantly, there is huge demand for graduates with degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) which is not being met. This is partially due to inadequate college funding. That is just plain dumb and short-sighted.

Ironically, this leads growing companies to spend significant time and money recruiting candidates from other states and other countries. The resulting mass influx of new residents increases the cost of housing and adds to traffic woes. I am not against people moving to Washington State. But they are moving here because we have failed to properly educate our own kids.

On a side note, I would like to give Republicans kudos for increasing college funding (and thereby reducing tuition) during the 2015 legislative session. They got significant press and praise for reducing college tuition — and thereby distracted people's attention from the fact that K12 education was still significantly underfunded. Yes, they screwed up the GET program in the process. But it was a masterful stroke of marketing genius.

Steve Rubenstein for Governor | Privacy Policy