Oregon College Students Stage Massive Protest Against Education Budget Cuts

Several hundred college students demonstrated in Salem in response to proposed cuts in funding for higher education. The event, one of at least three held at the Capitol on Thursday(11 May 2023), was organized by the Oregon Student Association, a student-run charity. It is against the bill to reduce funding for public colleges and universities by 2.5% between 2023 and 2025 compared to the existing budget.

Oregon’s 17 community colleges and 7 public universities are home to more than 97,000 students. The proposed budget for the state’s public universities is $933 million, while the proposed budget for the state’s community institutions is $764 million. To maintain present levels of operation, they would require roughly $972 million and $779 million in funding, respectively.

Public university administrators have informed legislators that, to stay up with inflation and prevent further program cuts, layoffs, and tuition hikes, they will need more than $1 billion from the state over the next two years.

The Joint Committee on Ways and Means is now debating the higher education budget in the Education Subcommittee.

According to Nick Keough, the association’s legislative director, the organization met with 40 legislators to debate the budget and held a rally outside the building. “I’m optimistic that if there are additional funds after the May revenue forecast, they will go to higher education,” Keough added. On May 17, we will share our forecast with the world.

Oregon College Students Protest Education Budget

The students argue that reducing the budget would make things more financially difficult for them and their families. Tuition for Oregon universities pays for half of all expenses, much higher than in most other states. They also predicted that schools would reduce student support services, personnel, and activities.

The students demanded that state financial assistance funds like the Oregon Opportunity Grant and the Student Tribal Grant receive increased money from Governor Tina Kotek and state legislators. They are advocating for a four-fold increase in funding for the former over the next two years, from $100 million to $400 million. It’s the state’s most extensive aid program for the poor.

At the event, Oregon State University senior Maryssa Reynoso said that, without the Opportunity Grant, she would not be able to attend college. She is still having trouble making ends meet.

Recent and noteworthy incidents in Oregon are summarized below.

β€œWhile it is incredibly helpful to get any funding and grants and scholarships, I am in so much debt – not just loans – but credit card debt just to meet my basic needs,” she said. β€œI just don’t think people realize how high tuition is, in addition to meeting your basic needs.”

All seven of the state’s public colleges have proposed fee hikes for the forthcoming academic year. None exceed the 5% threshold at which the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission would have to give its assent. Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read and state representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) joined the students.

According to Read, students should meet with local officials to discuss their needs. β€œYou can tell them that the chief investment officer for the state said there’s no better investment for the future of Oregon than higher education.”


Louis Ebert

Louis Ebert is a talented content writer with a passion for creating compelling stories and informative articles. With years of experience in writing, Louis has honed their skills in crafting engaging content that resonates with readers.As a content writer for Focushillsboro.com, Louis explores the many facets of life in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. From delving into the latest trends in local business to highlighting community events and leaders, their writing offers a unique perspective that captures the essence of the area.

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