Oregon’s higher education commission sends 42 percent increase for public universities to governor

“Students Won!” Oregon Student Association’s Facebook post read, as Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously approved a budget request that represents a more than 40 percent increase in public universities’ and community colleges’ operating support budget on Thursday. The budget will be sent to Governor Kate Brown for her consideration ahead …

“Students Won!” Oregon Student Association’s Facebook post read, as Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously approved a budget request that represents a more than 40 percent increase in public universities’ and community colleges’ operating support budget on Thursday.

The budget will be sent to Governor Kate Brown for her consideration ahead of next year’s legislative session.

The request includes $943 million for public universities, a 42 percent increase from the current budget. It also includes $795 million for community colleges, $200 million for the Oregon Opportunity Grant and $40 million for the Oregon Promise.

“This is a very aggressive and ambitious budget request,” HECC’s executive director Ben Cannon said at the meeting at Columbia Gorge Community College.

University of Oregon student Vickie Gimm was also at the meeting to testify in front of the commission. She is optimistic about the result of the meeting, but also said it is not a done deal.

“I’m very thrilled about this victory,” Gimm said, “[but] we still have a long way to go towards affordable education. Next stop is the governor’s office to get the final approval on this budget, and I’m hoping for the best.”
Last year, the Oregon legislature approved $665 million in operating support in 2015, a significant increase for public universities after years of steep decline.
University leaders said at the meeting, however, that even if the proposed increase gets approved, it still won’t make up for the years of state disinvestment. Earlier this year, UO Board of Trustees passed a tuition hike of 4.7 percent and 4.5 percent to cover the increasing operating costs.
Gimm and ASUO Local Affairs Commissioner Amy Schenk both criticized UO President Michael Schill for the tuition hike at the meeting, The Oregonian reports.

The governor will release the budget plan after the November election.


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