The Oregon Legislature officially began its 77th session on Jan. 14 with organization days and will reconvene on Feb. 4 to start regular business. It will consider many issues important to higher education and the University of Oregon this year, including higher education funding (see article on Governor’s Recommended Budget), higher education governance and tuition equity. The Oregon House has created a new committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, chaired by State Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). Higher education matters in the senate will continue to fall under the jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development, chaired again by State Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton).
A number of bills have been introduced that would affect higher education governance, including proposals that would create institutional boards for the University of Oregon and Portland State University. These bills come in addition to proposals that would restructure Oregon’s statewide system of higher education. The University of Oregon’s governance resources page provides background materials on higher education governance in Oregon.
The legislature is also expected to take up the issue of tuition equity during this session. Currently, students who are undocumented and have grown up in Oregon and attended Oregon’s high schools are charged out-of-state tuition, which can be prohibitively expensive for many. Tuition equity legislation would grant in-state tuition rates to all qualified graduates of Oregon high schools, regardless of documentation status. The University of Oregon supports efforts to pass tuition equity.
The Public and Government Affairs Update will include regular news on governance and the UO’s other legislative priorities. Please do not hesitate to call contact the office of Government and Community Relations if you have and questions about the legislative process or a particular piece of legislation.