House correct to pass tuition equity
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 00:02
The Oregon House of Representatives made good last Friday as it passed a bill allowing undocumented Oregon high school students to pay in-state tuition rates. We commend the house for passing it and hope the Senate will quickly follow suit.
The legislation is important in allowing Oregonians to become productive members of society and contribute back to the state, regardless of their immigration status. Students who have grown up in Oregon, attended our high schools and succeeded, should be given the same opportunities and benefits as other Oregonians.
The law opens up in-state tuition to students who have graduated from an Oregon high school, attended that school for at least three years and have intentions to become an American citizen. This bill can be a powerful incentive to encourage hard working people to become educated and stay in Oregon, contributing to our economy in a major way.
Some may argue doing this for Oregonians who aren’t even American citizens, while forcing citizens from out of state to pay non-resident tuition, is unfair. But students, many of whom have lived almost their entire lives in Oregon, deserve to attend public higher education at the same rates as their peers. And those from out of state undoubtedly had the opportunity to attend school in their home states at in-state rates — it’s not our fault they decided to attend school in Oregon.
This bill will go far to improving our state’s economy, ensuring a well-educated workforce and helping to meet the governor’s 40-40-20 goals of having 40 percent of the state’s population having bachelor’s degrees or better by 2025. By making this education more affordable for some Oregonians, it will mean more bachelor’s degrees and a smarter population.
Since the House was the largest hurdle for this legislation to jump, it is expected to sail through the Senate without much opposition. The House killed in similar legislation in 2003 and 2011 committee. Governor John Kitzhaber has indicated he would sign the legislation if it passes.
The fiscal statement of the bill indicates approximately 38 students would benefit in 2013-2015, with another 80 to benefit in the next biennium. The costs the bill would incur are minimal when compared to the benefits to be reaped in the long run.
We look forward to this bill becoming law and are happy to see state legislators look out for all Oregonians, whether or not they are legally documented to be here or not.
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