Wilcox proposes college students have a say in higher education costs

Today, the House Higher Education Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would create committees of college students to evaluate cost efficiencies at public institutions around the state.

House Bill 2478, sponsored by Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, would create student auditing committees at every four-year public institution in the state.

The Second District lawmaker had an idea for the bill last summer after attending a higher education event at the University of Washington in which the budget and its affect on students was discussed.

“As a father of two students in college and one graduating from high school this year, I am highly aware of the burden recently put on students to cover the cost of higher education,” Wilcox said. “I believe they have the greatest interest in ensuring their colleges are being run at peak efficiency. I hope with this legislation they can get more involved.”

The committee of students would focus on at least one program, practice, or process, and look for efficiencies. They would report their findings and recommendations for reducing costs to their board of regents and board of trustees.

During the hearing, students expressed support and interest in having a greater say in their universities and said they were ready to begin work. The point was made that students will gain leadership experience and may be more likely to engage in their schools and in future leadership opportunities.

“This is a great way for students to provide new and innovative ways of improving their college experience while saving themselves and taxpayers some money,” Wilcox said.

The bill now awaits action by the committee. If it is passed, it could be considered for action by the entire House of Representatives.


Washington State House Republican Communications