While Washington state legislators recently decreased resident undergraduate tuition for the next two years, the UW Board of Regents determined June 9 that graduate, out-of-state, and international student tuition would increase.
Only tier III graduate students, or students seeking master’s and doctorate degrees in the College of Engineering, or master’s and doctoral candidates in the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing, will see a tuition hike. These students will be facing a 3% increase, a rise of $842 per year.
International students pay the same tuition as out-of-state students and will continue to do so. Their tuition is set to increase 2% for the next academic year. These students will be paying $33,072, about $700 more, and approximately three times more than in-state students will pay next year.
There is, however, one big difference between these two groups when it comes to footing the bill for education: International students don’t qualify for financial aid or most scholarships.
Jason Chen, an international undergraduate student at the UW, said neither of his parents finished high school in China, which is why they wanted him to have the best education possible. However, Chen said it’s becoming increasingly difficult for his parents to handle the expenses from his education.
“Each year, my parents have to pay a very high amount of money for my brother’s and my education, and my family is not one of those rich families,” Chen said. “My parents told us they barely have any savings after they pay our tuition and living fees each year.”
Chen and his brother both work in their free time to help alleviate their parent’s financial burden. Despite the struggle to afford education, Chen said he understands why the UW, as a public institution, has Washington residents paying lower fees.
“I think the $700 increase per year is a reasonable amount,” he said. “Still, I hope there can exist more support for international students.”
Interim President Ana Mari Cauce said the state’s decision to decrease in-state tuition did not impact the international student tuition increase.
“Decisions were made beforehand,” she said. “We’ve had a pretty good sense of where we wanted to go for a while now.”
Cauce said she is thankful to not only the students who wrote, lobbied, and spoke to the legislature this year encouraging tuition reduction, but to former students too. Student involvement really makes a difference, even when it isn’t evident immediately, she said.
Austin Wright-Pettibone, ASUW’s former director of the office of government relations, said the legislature’s decision will impact future decisions regarding tuition reduction.
“I think it’s putting the public back into higher education,” Wright-Pettibone said. “Whether you’re an international student, graduate student, or an in-state student, you’re going to feel the benefits.”