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Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today urged the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to exercise thorough and careful oversight over significant tuition increases being proposed and approved at some of Oregon's public universities. In a letter to the Commission, the Governor made clear her expectation that the HECC will reject in-state undergraduate tuition increases greater than five percent unless the public university provides clear and substantial justification along with a plan by the university to control costs and protect low-income Oregon students.

"Oregon's university students are carrying too much of the burden of their own education," said Governor Brown. "In the midst of challenging times for the state budget, Oregon's public universities know they must use every available resource efficiently and wisely, and not shift costs to students. If a university says it has no choice but to significantly raise tuition, they must tell us why, show they have a plan to reign in non-essential spending, and demonstrate how they'll continue to serve Oregonians on the path to obtaining a college degree."

The board of trustees at each of Oregon's seven public universities sets tuition for their students. Under Oregon law, the HECC has the authority to approve any public university board request for a tuition increase greater than five percent from the prior academic year.

In her letter to HECC commissioners, Governor Brown endorsed five criteria to be stringently applied in evaluating and deciding upon tuition increases expected to be brought forward by some public universities for Commission approval, beginning in May. A public university must provide:

• Clear and significant evidence that the university gave serious consideration to alternatives that involved tuition and fee increases below the five percent threshold.

• Clear and significant evidence of how Oregonians who are underrepresented in higher education, including low-income students and students of color, would benefit more under the proposal for increased tuition than one that stays within the five percent threshold.

• A plan for how the university board and central administration are managing costs on an ongoing basis.

• A summary of how students, faculty, and staff were consulted on the proposed tuition increases.

• A summary of how tuition will be affected should additional state funds beyond the number in Governor's Recommended Budget be appropriated.

Establishing criteria to evaluate these requests has been the charge of the HECC's Funding and Achievement Subcommittee.



Chris Pair
Bryan Hockaday