On Dec. 1 Oregon Governor Kate Brown sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders urging funding for childcare for working families, elementary and secondary education, and higher education in any COVID-19 relief package. The letter emphasized the costs that have already affected childcare for working families, the additional broadband and technology needs for remote learning for elementary and secondary education, and lost revenues and higher costs affecting higher education.
Negotiations on a fourth relief package are continuing in Congress as the 116th Congress nears the end of its term. The last relief legislation, the CARES Act, was signed into law in March. Many provisions are expiring or have expired.
The Governor's letter notes that the pandemic has impacted students. Gov. Brown stated “the effects of the pandemic on higher education institutions has been costly. Many students had to decide on taking the next steps to further their education or take care of their families and health – creating an extra barrier for students who were seeking postsecondary degrees.
The letter continues, "the financial stability of these students is of great concern, given the potential for these students to carry debt without the increased earnings power provided by a degree. The likelihood these students return to complete their postsecondary degree decreases over time."
The letter from Governor Brown follows a Nov. 23 joint statement issued by the Governor and U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley urging Congress to pass additional COVID-19 aid.