New student loan program underway with Inslee signature | North West


OLYMPIA — Washington must expand a state student loan program for residents under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The new law requires the Washington Student Achievement Council, along with the Office of the State Treasurer and the State Investment Board, to develop a program that will provide student loans with interest rates of 1% or less to resident students with financial need pursuing education. an undergraduate or graduate degree. Loans will begin to be granted from the 2024-2025 academic year.

The low interest rates will provide a “more affordable financial aid option” for students in Washington, Inslee said Wednesday.

According to the bill, a report must be submitted to the Legislative Assembly on the program’s implementation plan by December 1. The budget passed this year provides $150 million starting in 2023 for the council to begin work on setting up the program, but Inslee said Wednesday that a technical error in the supplementary budget means the work will not be able to. start this year. He said he hoped there would be a fix in the 2023-2025 budget cycle.

The program must prioritize low-income borrowers, according to the bill.

Funds for the program can only be distributed if the design of the program shows that it is self-sustaining and interest rates do not exceed 1%.

The bill was one of the last to pass the Legislative Assembly during the dying moments of the session that ended on March 10. In the final passage, it passed the House 57-40 and the Senate 27-21.

“We have a student loan crisis in Washington State. We have a student loan crisis across the country,” lead sponsor representative Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said on the floor. “It will relieve thousands of students.”

Laurel Demkovich’s reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and members of the Spokane community. This story may be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact the editorial director of our journal.


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