The Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges is considering a proposal to change the 85% tuition waiver for Parenting Education classes from a statewide mandatory waiver to a local college decision. This change could result in a significant tuition increase for students enrolled in Parenting Education classes, making these classes more expensive and less accessible to parents.
If the tuition waiver becomes a local college decision, and colleges decide to reduce or eliminate the tuition waiver, tuition for Parenting Education classes could go up significantly. Lower income families, in particular, may not be able to afford Parenting Education classes, resulting in reduced affordability and accessibility for parents who are struggling to balance work, home, and parenting responsibilities. Reduced enrollment could lead to cancellation of classes and closure of parent cooperative preschools. Rather than ensuring the financial stability of Parenting Education programs, moving the tuition waiver to local control could ultimately threaten the long-term viability of Parenting Education programs.
While Parenting Education students pay much less college tuition than other students, they pay much more in lab fees. When preschool lab tuition and other fees are added to college tuition, the total cost of Parenting Education class is comparable to what other students pay.
In addition, Parenting Education students are heavily invested in the cooperative preschools, which are independent, non-profit organizations run by the parents. Students are required to contribute substantial personal time serving on the preschool board or committees, fundraising, organizing field trips and other events, and cleaning and maintaining the preschools. Parenting Education students also use fewer college resources (particularly classroom/lab facilities and student services) than other students.
I urge you to consider all of these factors when making your decision about the tuition waiver change and vote to keep Parenting Education classes under State Board control so that they remain affordable and accessible for all students.