The Capitol Record

Students dance for higher education funding on Capitol steps

College students from all over the state came to Olympia on Monday to protest rising tuition rates and funding cuts to higher education.

“Today is really about getting the students to feel empowered,” said Shelby Pelon, president of the Washington Student Association. Pelon talked as students danced on the steps of the main legislative building for about an hour while a DJ played live music.

“I really believe that the best form of financial aid is low tuition,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), speaking to the crowd of students.

“At its heart this is really a funding issue,” Frockt said later during an interview. “This is a year where we can really start changing the tide. It’s got to be a priority for legislators to make it happen, though.”

Paige Jones, a sophomore at Evergreen State College, spoke to the crowd about her own experiences dealing with the pressure of trying to continue her education in the face of rising tuition costs and lower financial aid.

“I currently work two jobs and go to school full time, just so I can pay for my living expenses,” Jones said. “I’m afraid future tuition increases will force me to end my education, because I rely so heavily on financial aid.”

Alejandro Gonzales is a student at Washington State University and a Navy veteran.

“Due to cuts to my financial aid and the increase of tuition, essentially the cost of going to school has doubled since I started,” Gonzales said.

TVW has more photos on our Facebook page from the event.

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