Oregon public college presidents ask state for $100 million
Measure 97’s failure spurred Oregon public colleges to continue the effort to fund higher education. On Wednesday, the presidents of Oregon’s seven public universities signed a joint letter that asked for $100 million in funding for higher education.
“The universities have collectively been thinking about how they are going to jointly approach the state legislature for additional investment,” UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said.
According to Klinger, the letter was written in response to the failed measure because higher education may have received funds from tax revenue.
“As our elected leaders weigh difficult budget decisions, we urge them to invest a minimum of $100 million for Oregon’s university students to continue to clamp down on student costs and debt,” the joint letter said. “This investment will allow all campuses to keep tuition increases to a manageable level for the next two years and ensure that students can graduate without taking on a lifetime of debt.”
The letter urged lawmakers and the governor to put money toward higher education so tuition costs can remain at a reasonable level for the next two years.
Funding would be split among the seven universities that signed the letter. Community colleges in the state will approach the legislature separately, Klinger said. If accepted, the money will be divided between the schools by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Klinger said.
The failed measure would have put further taxes on the largest corporations in the state with the funds going toward education and healthcare. The measure would have helped ease the state budget deficit of $1 billion. Many hoped that although no language in the Measure mentioned higher education, funds would make their way to UO.
Last month, Kurt Wilcox, a board of trustees member, voiced concern for students if the measure were to not pass. “If we are going to pay for those costs, we are going to have to make significant cuts. We are going to have to raise tuition by double digits unless we pass ballot Measure 97.”
The Legislative Revenue Office, a nonpartisan group, found that costs for consumers could cost approximately $600 a year if the Measure passed, according to the Oregon Voter’s Pamphlet.
Voters rejected the proposed gross sales tax with a “No” vote tallying 52.63 percent compared to a 47.37 percent “Yes” vote.
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