Community college leaders dismayed by bill waiving tuition


A bill in the Oregon legislature that would make tuition free to qualified students has piqued the concern of community college leaders.

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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

A bill in the Oregon legislature that would make tuition free to qualified students has piqued the concern of community college leaders.

Senate Bill 81 would cause too much stress on already thin budgets, community college leaders and associations said in Salem.

From the Statesman Journal:

“It’s not just the capacity, because you can bring students in but to help them be successful you’d have to have academic advising, early alert programs, more staff in the financial aid office, more staff in tutoring,” said Julie Huckestien, president of Chemeketa Community College. “Students may be able to get in, but won’t be able to (finish).”

In order to qualify for the bill, a person has been an Oregon resident for 12 months before starting courses, has graduated from an Oregon high school within two years of the beginning date of the waiver, accepted all state and federal aid grants that are available and has not earned more than 90 quarter hours at a post-secondary institution. Calculation of the tuition waiver is based on how much tuition money is owed after subtracting applicable state and federal grants, plus a $50 student co-pay.

The executive director of the Oregon Community College Association said Oregon is 46th in the nation in post-secondary education funding. Andrea Henderson said in light of this fact, “we don’t have the infrastructure” for a huge cut in tuition revenue.

 




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