UO student to join governor for signing of Oregon's tuition equity bill

University of Oregon student Edith Gomez will join Gov. John Kitzhaber, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and others Tuesday morning (April 2) when the governor signs into law the state's so-called tuition equity bill.

Gomez, a general science major at the UO, testified in favor of the bill two months ago, along with UO President Michael Gottfredson and others. It was supported by the Associated Students of the University of Oregon and by the Oregon Student Association.

The legislation, House Bill 2787, was approved by a large majority in both chambers of the legislature. It will grant in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years; graduated from an Oregon high school after studying there for at least three years; been accepted to an Oregon university; and shown an intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

“The passage of tuition equity is great news for Oregon,” Kitzhaber said. “Young people who work hard in our schools deserve equal access to post-secondary education, and House Bill 2787 opens up that opportunity to them.

"This will help our state capitalize on the investment we've made in these students through the K-12 system while giving them their shot at the American dream," he said. "I appreciate the hard work of so many Oregonians to make this possible.”

Yvette Alex-Assensoh, the UO's vice president for equity and inclusion, said in a written statement that the new law represents "a major milestone for immigrant communities and will be a great contribution to furthering the diversity, equity and inclusion goals at the University of Oregon."

The governor was scheduled to lead things off at the 10:30 a.m. bill-signing ceremony in Salem. He will then introduce Gomez, who will give brief remarks before Courtney and State Rep. Michael Dembrow of Portland each speak about the bill's importance.