Open Letter: It's Time for Free College in Washington State

Dear friends, below is a public sign-on letter that we will distribute to members of the Washington State Legislature on Nov 30, 2022. Please endorse this call for free college by filling out the form below. This form is for organizational endorsements and elected official endorsements only.

If you have questions, please contact LeeAnn Hall at leeann@juststrategy.org.

____________

Dear Representative/Senator:

Workforce quality has become a national priority as news emerges about the educational losses caused by the pandemic. (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2022/03/03/the-pandemic-has-had-devastating-impacts-on-learning-what-will-it-take-to-help-students-catch-up/) Nearly thirty states are protecting their workforce quality by instituting some version of cost-free college.

Washington State prides itself on the excellence of its workforce and has made generous investments in a student  aid system. But we need to stay competitive. We also must promote racial and economic equity. A strong cost-free college program is needed to achieve these objectives.

We, the undersigned, support Communities for Our Colleges, a coalition of students and organizations advocating for investment in the Washington Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs).

A cost-free CTC system will have a strong positive effect on the state’s economy, and it quickly pays for itself (https://1gyhoq479ufd3yna29x7ubjn-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/CEW-The-Cost-of-Free-College-FR.pdf). There is public support for making this important investment. Free community college is wildly popular with 78 percent of the public supporting it strongly or somewhat. It also has overwhelming support across party lines. (https://www.freecollegenow.org/free_college_tuition_continues_to_enjoy_bipartisan_support) 

Cost-free college will entail increasing the availability of tuition aid and developing a robust system of student support services, such as counseling, affordable healthcare, accessible childcare, and other assistance that enables students to enroll in college and to succeed there. 

We respectfully request that you work with Communities for Our Colleges to create a plan for free community college. Our point of contact is LeeAnn Hall and you can reach her at leeann@juststrategy.org.

Sincerely,


LeeAnn Hall, Executive Director, Just Strategy/Communities for Our Colleges

Fernando Mejia-Ledesma, Co-Executive Director,  Puget Sound Sage

Karen Strickland, President, AFT Washington

Adam Glickman, Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU 775

Radu Smintina, Education Coalition Manager, OneAmerica

Peter Kuel, President, Drivers Union

Mariela Valencia, Kinship Navigator, Catholic Charities Kinship Program 

Andrea Caupain Sanderson, CEO, Byrd Barr Place

Elise DeGooyer, Executive Director, Faith Action Network 

Yadira Chavez, President, Connection Bridge Club

Dr Bernal C. Baca, Executive Director, Mi Centro

Giovanni Severino, Youth Campaign Manager, Progreso: Latino Progress

HyeEun Park, Advocacy Director, BIPOC ED Coalition

Esther Lucero, President & CEO, Seattle Indian Health Board

Carlos Gonzalez, Director, Alpha Media Productions LLC

Michael Tuncap, 
Faculty & Chair, Center for Guided Pathways

Sharonne Navas, 
Co-Founder and Executive Director,Equity in Education Coalition

Lizbeth Rivera-Estrada, 
Leadership Development Manager, The Washington Bus

Dr. Tafona Ervin, Executive Director, Foundation for Tacoma Students

[List in formation. Updated periodically]




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