Federal Way campus plan raises questions

By Thunderworld Staff

Federal Way officials are trying to get a four-year college program inside of the city limits.

They have brought together Highline, the University of Washington-Tacoma and Federal Way Public schools to make this happen.  And they're seeking $800,000 from the state to pay for it.

This is in effort to offer more opportunity to potential college students living in Federal Way, access to a closer four-year degree program. In Federal Way, 28 percent of the population has obtained their bachelor's degree or higher, and only 8.4 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

So, it makes sense that we are thinking about how to get those post-secondary education numbers up, but is this the right way to do it? The belief is that if we work together to bring education to a not-so-educated city we'll be able to increase the amount of educated individuals living in the city.

The logic kind of follows that of many evangelizing Christians', the whole bring water to a dry place. However, what isn't being addressed is the fact that the dry place fundamentally may not be able to sustain water. 

The estimated median household income in 2016 for Federal Way was $65,788, but the city is not a single person household type of city. Almost 50 percent of the city's population is married, a lot of whom have multiple kids, and the most common occupation is in the construction and extraction business.

This is all to say, the issue may not be that people aren't avoiding college due to it's proximity, but due to its affordability. There may be a better way we could be using our city's resources in the wrong way.

Federal Way spent $75,000 for an assessment to see if a program was warranted here. If this plan continues, we are looking at a lot more money that potentially could've expanded the resources available at already existing local schools.

Maybe a better alternative could be allocation of resources to colleges already here, or maybe this is exactly the plan that we should be looking for. Either way, the question of are we providing opportunity to potential students, or are we spreading our resources too thin, must be asked.

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