Washington Universities: Obama’s notice “nonsense on stilts”

Above: Obama saying universities need to be more involved in tuition increases. Photo Courtesy of http://www.columbian.com

After President Obama said last week that state governments must lower tuition costs or face a revokation of federal funding, Washington’s three largest universities spoke out against this, calling the criticism ‘Nonsense on stilts’.

The president called for government reform relating to college institutions, and Washington colleges were not impressed with this. In a statement issued by Washington’s three largest colleges, it is stated that President Obama shouldn’t be complaining to state governments about their tuition, but should be working with them instead.

Mike Young, UW president, is annoyed with President Obama for proposing federal revokation of funding for colleges if the governments don’t cut students a break. Young called that “Nonsense on stilts.”

Western Washington University and Washington State University agree with their colleague Young and have issued a statement saying that the cost of actually giving students an education has really gone down over the last few years in Washington State.

Tuition prices have been increasing only because of the $2 billion budget shortfall in Olympia, which has caused the state government to cut back the money it provides to subsidize tuition and told colleges to increase tuition in order to make that budget cut financially sustainable.

This declaration that colleges were ‘on notice’ was part of President Obama’s State of the Union address. He said that the long-term benefit to students would be tied to the amount of federal funding the college received, and colleges who buried students in loans by raising tuition to rates above what is usually affordable are not contributing to long-term benefits to students.

In this same speech, Obama also announced a competition called ‘Race to the Top’, a competitive grant program which awards the most money to colleges that have the most success lowering college cost sustainably. However, while any college official would agree that this idea is a good thought, it’s not a plausible scenario at the moment due to the lack of funding provided by state governments. Therefore, the colleges are telling the president that telling them to lower tuition will not produce effective results.

Washington colleges say President Obama is wrong about college tuition, and that the correct approach to fix the problem is working with the governments in order to make education affordable, not threatening them with a revokation of federal funding.