Oregon lies near the bottom of the nation when it comes to state support for its universities. That’s bad for our economy and harmful to our future. This disinvestment has caused tuition increases that force students to take on a lifetime of debt or, even worse, decide they can’t afford a college degree.
The presidents of the state’s seven public universities have united behind a proposal to boost state spending by $100 million. If approved by the Oregon Legislature, this increase would help keep tuition increases at or below 5 percent at most universities.
Secure Oregon’s future. Support our public universities.
PSU 2017 Legislative Priorities
- Collaboration among all seven public universities
Oregon’s seven public universities have been working together to support the future of Oregon and the success of our students. During the 2017 session, the public universities will continue to work together to address disruptive program changes or mandates and the challenges presented by structural costs that outpace Oregon’s projected revenue growth.
- Minimum $100 million increase in university support
As outlined by the seven university presidents in April 2016, Oregon’s Public Universities are seeking at least a $100 million increase (for a total of $765 million) in operating funds for the 2017-19 biennium. Despite increasing revenues, the Governor’s Recommended Budget (GRB) “flat-funds” university support at 2015-17 levels ($665 Million). This level of funding creates significant upward pressure on tuition and harmful programmatic reductions that will threaten student access and success.
- Increased capital funding (SB 5505)
PSU supports all of the projects recommended to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission by the seven university presidents. The GRB reduces and eliminates key projects for the various universities. PSU requests that the legislature restore the HECC recommended funding for PSU’s capital request for the Education and Health Center at 4th and Montgomery ($45 million total bond request: $36M in Article XI-G Bonds; $9M in XI-Q Bonds). This project will leverage over $52 million dollars in matching funds and represents a far-sighted partnership among Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Community College, and the City of Portland.
- Restoration of Sports Lottery scholarships
PSU supports at a minimum a restoration of the $8 million in lottery funding which, under Oregon law, has provided scholarships for athletes and graduate students at all seven universities. These funds are essential to provide access to a college degree for low-income and underrepresented athletes. The GRB eliminates funding for Sports Lottery.
- Priority funding for state need-based financial aid (SB 5524)
All seven of Oregon’s public universities and all 17 community colleges support the increased funding for the Opportunity Grant proposed in the GRB, which brings total funding to $151 million.
- Public university state programs (SB 5524)
PSU supports at a minimum maintaining flat funding for the Public University state programs, consistent with the GRB. These funds support programs at the research universities. At PSU they support the Dispute Resolution program, the Oregon Solutions Program, the Signature Research Centers, the Population Research Center, and the Profiling Study.
- Engineering support funds - ETIC (SB 5524)
PSU supports the continuation of at least $25M in ETIC Sustainable Funding, which supports Engineering programs at Oregon’s public universities. The GRB flat funds ETIC.
More information: Alyson Kraus, Interim Director of State Government Relations, Alyson.Kraus@pdx.edu
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