By Randy Bolerjack, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett
EVERETT, Wash. – Making college loans more affordable is a priority, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., told students who shared concerns about college affordability and loan debt during her visit last week to Washington State University North Puget Sound.
“We will definitely try streamlining the federal loan process to make it easier and more affordable,” she said. “Nobody paints the picture better that you students on how challenging this is. We need to learn from you.”
Other recent legislative visitors to the campus include U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who spoke with students about campus sexual assault legislation and the new medical college, and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-2nd District (including Everett), who learned about career opportunities for engineers in the region and about WSU research into rare earth elements and their sustainable use in clean technology innovations, which will be based in Everett.
Financial aid available
With Cantwell, WSU and Everett Community College students also shared concerns about textbook costs and challenges specific to veterans that can be addressed at the federal level.
To help make a four-year degree more affordable for place-bound students, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett offers degree-completion programs in locally high-demand fields, like engineering. Students can take the first two years of courses at a community college and finish a bachelor’s degree at WSU in Everett.
WSU also offers scholarship opportunities through financial aid programs like Cougar Commitment and the WSU Alumni Association, in addition to federal and state sources.
Engineering, clean tech meets local demand
Larsen participated in an Everett Community College-led tour of the Advanced Manufacturing Training & Education Center, which included a conversation with WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture senior Blaine Liukko. He recently was featured in a KING 5 News story about WSU programs for students seeking degrees attractive to aerospace and advanced manufacturing recruiters.
Larsen learned about WSU rare earth and clean technology research and visited the construction site for WSU’s new building in Everett.
Work is beginning on the third of four stories that will include classrooms, laboratories and offices for student services. Construction of the state-of-the-art, 95,000-square-foot building is on schedule to be completed in summer 2017, with classes beginning that fall.
Sex assault, medical college discussed
Murray’s office is championing sexual assault prevention to increase student safety on campuses in the state and throughout the country.
“This is an important topic for WSU on every campus – whether Everett, Spokane, Pullman, Tri-Cities or Vancouver,” said Paul Pitre, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett dean.
Murray’s staff also discussed the future of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, which will educate third- and fourth-year medical students in Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver. The college recently achieved “candidate status” in the accreditation process.