Cascadia College plans to eliminate its $30 application fee. (Cascadia College)

Cascadia College plans to eliminate its $30 application fee. (Cascadia College)

Cascadia College may no longer make you pay just to apply

Trustees are moving to axe the admission fee. They don’t want it to be a deterrent to potential students.

BOTHELL — Starting this fall, simply applying to be a student at Cascadia College should no longer cost anything.

The Board of Trustees is moving to eliminate its $30 non-refundable application fee effective Oct. 1.

Trustees considered it at their May 22 meeting and are likely to approve it June 19. Though it will result in an estimated loss of $50,000 in revenue a year, the board chairwoman said they find it to be more important to ensure that fee doesn’t deter potential students from trying to attend Cascadia.

“We want people to be able to apply and not have that as a barrier,” Trustee Julie Miller said. “We want to be welcoming to all.”

Cascadia did not have an application or admissions fee until 2008.

As the Great Recession set in, the number of people seeking admission soared. College staff spent loads of time processing applications from individuals who never enrolled, said Meagan Walker, vice president of college relations and advancement.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers began to trim funding for higher education as they wrestled with the financial effects of the worsening economic downturn.

In that environment, trustees enacted an application fee. The college also made waivers available to students who could not afford it, Walker said.

Cascadia would join 25 community and technical colleges, including Everett and Edmonds, that do not currently have a general application fee.

Edmonds Community College did charge applicants $35 until the spring quarter of 2017. That year, in April, trustees voted to get rid of it, deciding it posed a potential impediment for those wishing to seek admission.

Five institutions do collect admission fees with Bellevue College charging the most, $55, according to data provided by the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges. At two schools, there are fees for those applying to specialized degree programs.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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