OLYMPIA — As chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, has assembled a sweeping agenda for the committee to push back on the Trump administration and ensure access and opportunity for every student in Washington state.

“We need to put our children on the best path to success, whether it is in software development and clean technology or in teaching, the arts and human services,” said Ranker. “Senate Democrats are going to make absolutely sure that all – no matter who you are or when you came to this country – Washingtonians have access to college and not crushed with debt after graduation.”

Ranker and the Senate democratic majority are focused on higher education priorities including expanding financial aid access for DREAMers (SB 5074), establishing a student loan bill of rights (SB 6029), and offering free college tuition for thousands of Washingtonians (SB 6101).

“There is a huge need to expand access and opportunity for children, particularly those who do not have the ease of access and support of most families,” said Ranker. “It is our duty to make absolutely sure that every single child, including those who may have had an unstable home, has the chance to fully pursue their educational and training dreams and fully succeed in life.”

Ranker and the committee will also be working on a number of bills to expand access to college for students experiencing homelessness or in foster care. Ranker has sponsored a package of bills geared toward helping more children experiencing homelessness or in foster care to receive assistance on campus for food, textbooks, basic necessities and supportive services that will help them graduate.

“Research shows the vast majority of kids in foster care or experiencing homelessness want to attend college, but they are much less likely to go to college than other high school graduates and even more likely to drop out if they attend,” said Ranker. “Many foster children and those experiencing homelessness do not have the emotional or family support that can keep a small problem from growing into a crisis which, for many, can lead to leaving campus.”

A full list of bills sponsored by Sen. Ranker can be found here.