Washington State Considers Moving to Online College

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The public universities of Washington State, given with the reluctance of the state to supply them with sufficient funds, may be forced into a partnership with an all online college. According to an article by Katherine Long in the Seattle Times:

At a time when Washington’s higher-education budget is being slashed, some lawmakers believe a partnership with [Western Governors University, a private, not-for-profit online school founded in 1997 by the governors of 19 Western states], could provide more access to college programs without costing the state any money. Earlier this session, the House voted 70-26 in favor of HB 1822, which would create a partnership between the state and WGU, similar to a partnership WGU established last year with the state of Indiana. The measure is now before the Senate.

Critics complain that something like WGU is really more like job training than a regular university education. But that may be the point. According to the article, supporters say that the partnership would “help meet some of the worker retraining needs in the state now.”

It appears that the partnership would only allow students to transfer WGU credits to Washington public colleges. WGU wouldn’t get any state money.

If only the legislature could find a way to partner with, say, state taxpayers in order to provide more funding for those colleges….[Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer