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The Oregonian: Tuition set to rise 5 percent at Oregon's public universities
Author: Betsy Hammond
Posted: June 24, 2013

Read the original article in The Oregonian here.

After 90 minutes of pain-filled discussion, the Oregon Board of Higher Education voted 10-3 Friday to raise tuition and fees by about 5 percent at all seven public universities.

That increase, the smallest in six years, is necessary because Oregon's state funding per-university student is among the lowest in the country.

Students will have to pay from $288 (Portland State University) to $542 (University of Oregon) more per year to attend the state's three biggest universities. Students at the smaller regional universities will face increases of $150 (Western Oregon) to $409 (Oregon Tech) as full-time, in-state undergraduates.

University system leaders held out hope, however, that a possible deal under discussion at the Oregon Legislature could deliver more money for higher education, thus reducing tuition increases.

It would require about $52 million to avoid tuition increases entirely, according to Vice Chancellor Jay Kenton.

A dozen students testified, often in heart-breaking detail, about how years of steep tuition and towering student debt are hurting them and will turn away capable college students.

Board members said they were sympathetic -- but convinced that the cuts universities would suffer if they don't get more tuition money would be worse. Class sizes would swell, supports such as advising and library hours would be cut and fewer scholarships would be awarded, said board member Jim Middleton, president of Central Oregon Community College.

Board members Brianna Coulombe, a Hermiston High graduate who attends Eastern Oregon University; Farbodd Ganjifard, a Lake Oswego High grad who attends Oregon State University; and Emily Plec, a professor at Western all voted against the tuition increas