Kitzhaber's new higher ed budget isn't enough, public universities say

The presidents of Oregon’s seven public universities aren’t satisfied with Gov. Kitzhaber’s 2015-2017 higher education budget, according to a statement released this morning.

Though the $626 million budget is almost a 25 percent increase from the 2012-2014 budget (which allocated $521 million), it’s not as much as the Higher Education Coordinating Commission recommended, according to The Oregonian. The presidents of the universities want funding to return to “pre-2007 levels.”

“We commend the Governor for his efforts to end a decade of cuts to Oregon’s universities,” said the statement the presidents released in response to the budget announcement. “And while this budget is a step in the right direction, it will not do enough to control tuition, expand access and position Oregonians for a lifetime of opportunity.”

State funding for undergraduate degrees in Oregon has been cut 38.2% by the state since 2007, according to data provided by University of Oregon Public Affairs. But enrollment and the amount of students receiving degrees has continued to grow in that time: The number of degrees awarded annually at Oregon’s universities is up 31.9%, from 12,735 in 2007 to 16,799 in 2014.

Oregon’s universities are key to the economic health of our state,” the statement said. “Jobs are driven by growth in Oregon’s industries, and they demand a diverse pool of college graduates. Oregon needs to rebuild a strong middle class with a workforce that is trained for today’s economy.”

The statement was signed by the presidents of Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon and Western Oregon University.

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Dahlia Bazzaz

Dahlia Bazzaz

Dahlia is the 2015-2016 Editor in Chief of the Emerald. Before becoming EIC, she worked as a crime reporter and columnist. She has also interned with Oregon Public Broadcasting.

When she's not in the Emerald newsroom, she enjoys listening to podcasts and figuring out ways to meet Amy Poehler.

You can contact Dahlia via email: [email protected]