A financial partnership between Washington State University and Bellevue College is being conceptually explored by the two institutions. The partnership could lower tuition costs for BC students, heighten the quality of education offered on campus and online as well as increase the number of two and four-year degree programs available. The presidents of both schools have been communicating about potentials and reviewing the details of the partnership, with both sides expressing that optimal education quality and accessibility to education for students is of high priority.
Travis Tran had been a student at WSU until 2014, and was a part of the WSU student government during his time at the university.
“The idea has floated around for quite a while, as WSU has long sought for expansion, looking for ways to make college more accessible and affordable for students and to grow as a university,” Tran said.
“The idea is actually nothing really new, as my alma mater has always been searching for ways to attract and support more students from all over the state.” He continued, “In consideration of WSU’s mission, the idea to build stronger partnerships between the university and out state’s various community colleges came from many years (or decades) of exploration.”
“A partnership would mean many great things for students within the state of Washington who are a part of WSU or BC,” Tran said. “It could include a more affordable path towards earning a four-year undergraduate degree, more accessible ways for both WSU and BC students to take classes all over the state in person or through teleconference, increased collaboration and access to various opportunities/connections both academically and professionally, and most importantly a step towards a better quality of education for Washington college students.”
Among the topics still being discussed are whether BC would remain a commuter college, from which many students transfer to other universities such as WSU, or if it would become a standalone university.
Bellevue College, according to its mission statement, “is a comprehensive and innovative college that advances the life-long educational development of its students consistent with their needs, interests and abilities while strengthening the economic, social and cultural life of its diverse community.” WSU also has a mission goal to “extend knowledge through innovative educational programs in which emerging scholars are mentored to realize their highest potential and assume roles of leadership, responsibly and service to society.”
BC’s Board of Trustees said, according to the Bellevue Reporter, that they needed time to speak with students, the school’s foundation and Bellevue officials to determine the level of interest and whether the costs could be met for both projects. Until then, Bellevue College is also focusing attention on planning potential on-campus student housing projects, which would supplement the campus’s revenue and opportunities for students, as well as other smaller-scale on-campus projects to improve programs and facilities.