Students can push for higher funding, lower tuition at meeting

Oregon House chamber

Students and university supporters will have an opportunity to ask for increased funding for higher education Saturday when the co-chairs of the state Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee stop in Eugene to solicit input on the state budget.

Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, and Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, will lead the Feb. 25 town hall and collect comments on the proposed budget framework for the next biennium. The meeting takes place at the Lane Community College main campus on East 30th Avenue from 2-4 p.m. in Rooms 308-309, Building 17.

Current state budget proposals have led the university to consider significant tuition increases and severe budget cuts for the next academic year. A tuition proposal to be considered by the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon on Thursday, March 3, includes a possible 10.6 percent increase for in-state undergraduate students and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state undergraduate students.

The Tuition and Fee Advisory Board, a group of students, faculty, administrators and staff, developed the recommendation. Oregon’s seven public universities have requested $100 million in additional funding that would allow the UO to limit the tuition increase to about 5 percent and consider less severe budget cuts.

“There is still hope that the university can avoid raising tuition by more than 10 percent,” said Hans Bernard, the UO’s assistant vice president for state affairs and special assistant to the president. “University leaders are working tirelessly to urge state lawmakers to boost funding for higher education and keep the cost of a college degree affordable for Oregonians. We invite the UO community to join these conversations with lawmakers to help them realize the impact of high tuition increases.”

Students and university supporters are welcome to testify and urge lawmakers to increase higher education funding and make a college degree more affordable for students and their families. Students can register for the event online.

University supporters also can attend UO Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 9, to urge legislators to protect the affordability and accessibility of a college degree.