Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGLO 1976 No. 35 - May 26, 1976
AGO Opinion Header Image
Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

COMMUNITY COLLEGES ‑- LABOR ‑- APPRENTICESHIPS ‑- ADMISSION TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE APPRENTICESHIP COURSES

(1) A community college may not restrict enrollments in courses commonly known as "related apprenticeship training" solely to students who are "registered apprentices" pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC. 

(2) A community college may not apply the tuition and fee schedule set forth in WAC 131-28-026(1) to students who are registered apprentices pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC, but whose program of studies consists of graded courses taken for credit and selected from the regular college curriculum rather than those courses specifically designated as apprenticeship related training courses.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                   May 26, 1976

State Board for Community
College Education
319 Seventh Avenue
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1976 No. 35

Gentlemen:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested our opinion on the following two questions:

            (1) May a community college restrict enrollments in courses commonly known as "related apprenticeship training" solely to students who are "registered apprentices" pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC?

            (2) May a community college apply the tuition and fee schedule set forth in WAC 131-28-026(1) to students who are registered apprentices pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC, but whose program of studies consists of graded courses taken for credit and selected from the regular college curriculum rather than those courses specifically designated as apprenticeship related training courses?

            We believe that both of these questions must be answered in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            A community college is a state agency.  Centralia Col. Ed. Ass'n v. Board Com., 82 Wn.2d 128, 508 P.2d 1357 (1973);Tacoma Com. Col. Fed. v. Board, 82 Wn.2d 136, 508 P.2d 612 (1973).  As such, it is a creature of statute and can only exercise, through its governing board of trustees, those powers expressly granted by statute or, absent such an express grant, ". . . those powers necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted or those essential to the declared objects and purposes of . . ." the college.  Accord,State ex rel. Holcomb v. Armstrong, 39 Wn.2d 860, 239 P.2d 545 (1952); see, also,State ex relEastvold v. Maybury, 49 Wn.2d 533, 304 P.2d 663 (1956).1/

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            In addition, the board of trustees of a community college district is subordinate in some respects to another agency, the state board for community college education, as established by RCW 28B.50.050.  Accord, RCW 28B.50.090 which provides that:

            "The college board shall have general supervision and control over the state system of community colleges. . . ."

            Insofar as community college courses of study are concerned, various portions of chapter 28B.50 RCW, the community college act of 1967, as amended, make it clear that one of the purposes of such educational institutions is to provide what has been referred to by the legislature as "occupational education."  See, e.g., RCW 28B.50.020 as well as RCW 28B.50.090(3)(a) and RCW 28B.50.140.  Occupational education is defined by RCW 28B.50.030(7) to mean:

            ". . . that education or training that will prepare a student for employment that does not require a baccalaureate degree;"

            The basic authority to establish the course offerings at each community college is vested in the local board of trustees of the particular district in accordance with RCW 28B.50.140 which provides that:

            "Each community college board of trustees:

            ". . .

            "(2) Shall create comprehensive programs of community college education and training and maintain an open-door policy in accordance with the provisions of RCW 28B.50.090(3);

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            ". . .

            "(11)  Shall prescribe, with the assistance of the faculty, the course of study in the various departments of the community college or colleges under its control, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, publish such catalogues and bulletins as may become necessary;"

            Question (1):

            Your first question assumes that the board of trustees of a particular community college district, in the exercise of the foregoing authority, has established occupational training programs commonly known as "related apprenticeship training" courses.  You ask whether a community college may legally limit enrollment in such courses to persons who, pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and implementing regulations contained in chapter 296-04 WAC, are registered apprentices.2/

             In responding to this question we must, of necessity, make two factual assumptions.  First, we must assume that in the particular case in question there would otherwise be space available for students who are not registered as apprentices.  Otherwise, the issue would simply be whether a community college could restrict access to a given, limited, resource to those who, in the judgment of its governing body, could most benefit from the particular resource.  Our second factual assumption is that, given such available space for students other than those registered as apprentices, those other students are also demonstrably persons able to profit or benefit from the training to be imparted in the course.

            Given these two factual conditions it is our opinion that, for lack of the requisite statutory authority to do otherwise, a community college district may not limit enrollment in any "apprenticeship related training course" solely to students who are registered as apprentices under chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC, supra.  The statutory scheme which we have above outlined unquestionably authorizes each community college district, under the governance of its own local board of trustees and the general supervision of the state board for community college education, to establish such courses under  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] the general heading of occupational education ‑ as defined in RCW 28B.50.030(7),supra.  However none of the statutes which we have earlier noted, nor any others which our research has disclosed, expressly grant the power to a community college district to restrict enrollment in any course or courses offered by it to a particular class of students and, in our judgment, such a power cannot be implied.  Since, under the factual assumptions which we have made, there would be space available for all students desiring to enroll and those who wish to enroll in the program would be persons able to benefit or profit from their participation therein, there would simply be no justification, under those statutes, for a limitation upon enrollment to registered apprentices only.  Thus, in short, because of this lack of statutory authority we must answer your first question in the negative.

            Question (2):

            Repeated for ease of reference your second question asks:

            May a community college apply the tuition and fee schedule set forth in WAC 131-28-026(1) to students who are registered apprentices pursuant to chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC, but whose program of studies consists of graded courses taken for credit and selected from the regular college curriculum rather than those courses specifically designated as apprenticeship related training courses?

            The first statute to be noted in responding to this question is RCW 28B.15.100 which provides that:

            "The board of regents and board of trustees at each of the state's colleges and universities shall charge to and collect from each of the students registering at the particular institution such general tuition fees, operating fees, services and activities fees, and other fees as such board shall in its discretion determine:  Provided, That such general tuition fees and operating fees for quarters other than summer session shall be in at least the amounts for the respective institutions as set forth in RCW 28B.15.200, 28B.15.300, 28B.15.400 and 28B.15.500 as now or hereafter amended:  Provided further, That the fees charged by boards of trustees of community college districts shall be consistent with RCW 28B.15.500 as now or hereafter amended."  (Emphasis supplied.)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 5]]

            RCW 28B.15.500, in turn, states that:

            "General tuition fees, operating fees and services and activities fees charge students registered at each community college other than at summer quarters shall be as follows:

            "(1) Full time resident students:

            "(a) General tuition fee, forty-one dollars and fifty cents per quarter;

            "(b) Operating fees, twenty-seven dollars per quarter; and

            "(c) Services and activities fees, not more than fourteen dollars and fifty cents per quarter.

            "(2) Full time nonresident students:

            "(a) General tuition fee, one hundred thirty-one dollars and fifty cents per quarter;

            "(b) Operating fees, eighty-one dollars per quarter; and

            "(c) Services and activities fees, not more than fourteen dollars and fifty cents per quarter.

            "Tuition, operating fees and services and activities fees consistent with the above schedule will be fixed by the state board for community colleges for summer school students.

            "The board of trustees shall charge such fees for part time students, ungraded courses, noncredit courses, and short courses as it, in its discretion, may determine, not inconsistent with the rules and regulations of the state board for community college education."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            In the implementation of these statutory provisions the state board for community college education has adopted several regulations.  First, by WAC 131-28-015 it has established the following general policy with regard to the assessment of fees:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 6]]

            "It shall be the general policy of the Washington community college system that all tuition, operating fees, services and activities fees, or special fees charged to students shall be assessed on a uniform and equitable basis, except when the requirement to pay all or part of such fees has been specifically waived or altered by law or by regulation of the State Board or the district board of trustees."

            WAC 131-28-025 then sets forth the following method for assessing tuition and fees:

            "(1) For academic and occupational regular or short courses, fees charged to students:

            "(a) shall be based upon the number of credits assigned to such courses as listed in the official and current catalog of the college, or for courses not given such credit designations, the number of credit equivalents as computed by the method for deriving such equivalents established by the State Board.

            "(b) shall be assessed on a per-credit basis at uniform rates for resident and for non-resident students, provided:

            "(i) that the respective maximums charged to any resident or non-resident student shall not exceed the amount specified in RCW 28B.15.500,

            "(ii) that the required non-resident differential is charged, and

            "(iii) that for such courses the district board of trustees may reduce, but not eliminate, the total combined tuition and fees charged if in its judgment such amount would constitute an exorbitant charge considering the nature and content of the course, special circumstances related to the cost of offering the course, or unique characteristics of the students for whom the course is intended.

            "(c) shall be assessed for part-time students, for each credit of registration or its equivalent, at the rate of not less than one‑twelfth of the total combined tuition, operating, and services and activities fees charged to full-time students consistent with RCW 28B.15.500.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 7]]

            "(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to apprenticeship-related training courses that meet the standards approved by the State Joint Apprenticeship Council pursuant to RCW 49.04.030, industrial first aid courses designed to meet the requirements of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973, parent education courses offered in conjunction with cooperative pre‑school education programs, and farm management courses that incorporate on-the‑farm supervision, instruction, and work experience credit.  Tuition and fees for such courses shall be those established by the district board of trustees subject to the approval of the State Board to the end that such charges shall be substantially uniform throughout the college system."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Finally, WAC 131-28-026, to which you have referred in your question, prescribes the tuition and fee schedule for specific ungraded courses.  Insofar as it is here material, this regulation reads as follows:

            "For the purpose of implementing WAC 131-28-025(2), the tuition and fees, exclusive of special fees, charged by any Washington community college for the following courses shall be:

                        "Course  Tuition  Fees

            "(1)Washington Apprenticeship $10.50 $10.50 and Training Council ap-  per year per year proved apprenticeship related training, other than federal apprenticeship programs

            ". . ."

            Your question, basically, is whether a local community college district may apply this last quoted tuition and fee schedule to students who are registered apprentices under chapter 49.04 RCW and chapter 296-04 WAC, but whose program of studies consists of courses selected from the regular college curriculum rather than those specifically designated as "apprenticeship related training courses."  Again, as in the case of your first question, we believe that a negative answer is required.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 8]]

            While an individual community college district may establish its own fee schedule for part-time students and ungraded courses, it may not do so in a manner inconsistent with such rules and regulations as may have been adopted by the state board.  Accord, RCW 28B.50.500, supra.  In this case, the state board, through its adoption of WAC 131-28-026(1), has acted and, as we read that regulation, any extension of its provisions to cover other courses or programs would be "inconsistent" therewith ‑ even though the students involved might themselves be duly registered apprentices.

            WAC 131-28-026(1) seems clearly to be drawn in terms of a special fee schedule for apprenticeship related training courses.  Conversely, the regulation does not speak of students, whether they be registered apprentices or otherwise.3/   Therefore, as we view it, it necessarily follows that a community college district, being bound by the terms of this regulation, may not apply the tuition fee schedule set forth therein, instead, to a particular group of students irrespective of what courses they are enrolled in.  Graded courses, taken for credit and selected from the regular college curriculum, simply do not come under WAC 131-28-026(1), and this remains so regardless of the identity or characteristics of the particular students enrolled therein.

            We trust the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

RICHARD A. FINNIGAN
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/As this office has previously stated in considering the powers which a community college district may exercise, the term "necessary," as used in context of implied powers, "refers to those powers which are legally necessary to implement the intention of the legislature; not those things which are convenient or even those which are necessary as a practical matter in an isolated instance."   AGLO 1975 No. 3 [[to Robert V. Graham, State Auditor on January 13, 1975 an Informal Opinion AIR-75503.]], at p. 13, citing State ex rel. State Board Etc. v. Clausen, 84 Wash. 279, 146 Pac. 630 (1915).  In that opinion we then went on to say:

            ". . .  To clarify this point, implied powers are those which must be presumed to have been within the intention of the legislative grant.  City of Madison v. Daley, 58 Fed. 751 (D.Ind. 1893).  If there is a fair or reasonable doubt as to whether or not a particular power has been granted, it must be denied.  Griggs v. Port of Tacoma, 150 Wash. 402, 273 Pac. 521 (1928)."

2/Chapter 49.04 RCW provides, basically, for a system of registration for apprentices under the general jurisdiction of the state department of labor and industries; and chapter 296-04 WAC contains various departmental regulations adopted pursuant to that chapter.

3/The state board might have established a special tuition and fee schedule for the benefit of a certain class of students; i.e., approved apprentices, as part-time students.   See RCW 28B.15.500, supra, p. 5, and WAC 131-28-025(1)(c), supra, p. 6.  In fact, since WAC 131-28-025(1)(c) does speak to parttime students, it is clear that the state board knew it could adopt specific regulations concerning part-time students.  However, it did not do so in relation to the apprenticeship related training courses.

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo