Ways and Means Committee moves higher education budgets

Oregon University System

On June 14, the Oregon Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee voted to approve and send to the full House and Senate HB 5031, a bill that provides funding for the Oregon University System. The bill supports the operations of the System’s seven public universities and its centralized services. This budget also funds the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Extension Service, the Forest Research Laboratory, debt service on bonds issued for capital projects, and the Sports Action Lottery program. The bill funds the Oregon University System at $744,846,365, about $11 million below current service levels. It includes $38 million for a new area called “State programs” that encompasses programs with a statewide mission. Programs funded under this new program area include:

  • Engineering and Technology Industry Council ($29,030,827)
  • Dispute Resolution ($2,435,769)
  • Oregon Solutions ($2,185,335)
  • Oregon Metals Initiative ($725,136)
  • Industry Partnerships ($643,049)
  • Labor Education Research Center ($576,867)
  • Population Research Center ($421,407)
  • Natural Resources Institute ($386,353)
  • Clinical Legal Education ($337,557)
  • Climate Research ($302,843)

The budget includes $8,000,000 for the Sports Lottery Account, but limits the University of Oregon and Oregon State University to receiving a maximum of $1,000,000 each from the fund.

Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC)

The Ways and Means Committee also approved the budget for the Oregon Student Access Commission. OSAC provides post-secondary financial assistance to eligible students and administers the Access to Student Assistance Programs in Reach of Everyone (ASPIRE) program. The funding bill, HB 5032, includes $138,460,506 for OSAC, $8.5 million above current service levels. The Oregon Opportunity Grant is funded in the recommendation at $113.7 million, an increase of $8.3 million over current service levels. This amount of funding is anticipated to fund approximately 63,000 awards at an average amount of $1,800.


On June 12, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education approved provisional budgets for the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The OEIB budget provides $6,158,784, including funds for the 11 positions currently housed in the Governor’s office as well as resources for the board itself. The HECC budget provides $4,577,342, including funds for approximately 7 staff positions and $250,000 for contracting out for specialized studies in service. The budget is based on current law and does not factor in HB 3120, which would add further responsibilities and staff to the HECC. The HECC was previously unstaffed.

Business Oregon and OregonInC

On June 13, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development sent the budget for the Oregon Business Development Department (Business Oregon) to the full Ways and Means Committee. The Business Oregon Budget includes funds for the Oregon Innovation Council (OregonInC) and the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN). It provides $19,400,000 in Lottery Funds for seven Oregon InC initiatives:

  • Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) - $6,100,000
  • Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) - $2,000,000
  • Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (BEST) - $6,000,000
  • Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) - $2,000,000
  • Drive Oregon - $1,500,000
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of Excellence - $900,000
  • Oregon Story Board - $900,000

The subcommittee approved $1.25 million in operations funds for the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), and recommended to the capital construction committee $2.5 million in XI-Q funding for the project.