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Guest commentary

Wait on WSU Everett, focus on existing higher-ed opportunities

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By Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe and Rep. Luis Moscoso
Why open a Washington State University branch campus at Everett Community College?
A bill weaving its way through the Legislature would transfer management of the University Center of North Puget Sound located at EvCC to WSU after they complete a plan for meeting the academic needs of the region and successful establishment of an engineering degree program.
WSU's academic plan must include projections of student enrollment demand, the coordinated delivery of lower and upper division courses, and expanded availability of baccalaureate degree, graduate degree, high demand and certificate programs in the region.
In our view we can already meet these goals at existing branch campuses. Other factors point to halting rather than passing this proposal:
The existing University Center has successful partnerships with eight other colleges and universities that already bring bachelor and master degree programs to the region -- let's enhance their current curriculum to meet employer demand.
Promises were made and promises need to be kept to expand our existing branch campuses facilities at UW Tacoma, UW Bothell, WSU Vancouver, WSU Tri-Cities.
Allowing a WSU takeover of the existing branch campus does nothing to address absence of higher education between Bellingham and Marysville. The real discussion is how to answer north Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties' education needs.
We should seriously consider accredited online programs such as the Western Governors University that would bring higher education access to students across the state.
A WSU takeover of the EvCC University Center does not address a variety of complex needs.
We believe limited resources and focus should instead be put on enhancing existing higher education opportunities.

Sen. McAuliffe and Rep. Moscoso both represent the 1st Legislative District.

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