Washington State Legislation for College in the High School

June 5, 2023

Written by: Tim Stetter, Director, UW in the High School, University of Washington

Big news out of Washington State!

Gov. Inslee signs Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 5048, May 04, 2023. Relating to eliminating college in the high school fees. Primary Sponsor: Sen. Mullet

With the passage of Senate Bill 5048, the “College in the High School” program – “concurrent enrollment” in NACEP terminology – will be free for all high school students in Washington public schools starting next school year 2023-24.

The bill passed the Senate and House unanimously: every legislator who voted on this bill voted to approve it! Governor Jay Inslee recently signed the bill into law, and I was honored to be present at the signing.

Nearly 20 Washington colleges and universities offer College in the High School programs, including community colleges, regional universities, a private university, and a state university. With the anticipated increase in demand for these programs, Washington already ensures the quality of these college courses. How? NACEP accreditation is required!

In 2019, Washington passed a law (House Bill 1734) requiring all College in the High School programs operating in the state to achieve national accreditation (i.e., NACEP) by the 2027-28 school year. Eight programs in Washington are NACEP-accredited. This summer, College in the High School programs in Washington state will have the opportunity to take part in a NACEP Accreditation Institute to prepare for undertaking this comprehensive peer-review process.

To celebrate this new chapter for UW in the High School, we hosted Washington State Senator Mark Mullet – the bill's prime sponsor to make College in the High School free to students – at our teacher training day on May 20. Nearly 200 teachers from 9 different disciplines (Astronomy to Spanish) came to the campus in Seattle for new teacher training and professional development sessions with faculty. During the luncheon, Senator Mullet spoke about the importance of this bill and seeing it through to the Governor’s desk for signing into law.

(Special shout-out to the panelists of the NACEP webinar on engaging policymakers on March 29, 2023, who highlighted ways to recognize and celebrate successes with legislators:  Aimee Galvin, Alex Perry, and Emily Rusca. This webinar spurred my idea to invite Senator Mullet to our training day if the bill passed!)

You can read more about the training day and see photos in this article posted on the UW Continuum College website: “Expanding Access to UW in the High School.”

For more information, feel free to contact me at stetter@uw.edu.