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Tuition Equity Petition Launched to Break Through Partisan GridlockSalem-News.com
Petition submitted to send SB 742 to a Vote.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Believing that the issue of access to college is too important to die because of committee gridlock, Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) today announced that he has filed a discharge petition to bring Senate Bill 742, fair access to affordable tuition, to a full vote of the Oregon House.
This legislation has garnered unprecedented bi-partisan support and diverse community sup- port from students, teachers, and administrators, to the Associated Oregon Industries and the Oregon Business Association. This widespread support helped pass SB 742 out of the Senate in March with a bipartisan vote of 18-11.
Now, however, it’s stalled in the House, where it could die without a floor vote. SB 742 would allow high achieving Oregon students who have attended an Oregon high school for at least three years, graduated, been accepted to an Oregon university, and are working towards citizenship to pay in-state tuition, rather than out of state tuition at 3 TIMES the cost.
Supporters applaud this petition because it ensures a bill with significant and positive im- pacts on Oregon’s students and economy does not fall victim to committee gridlock and get lost in politics.
Farbodd Ganjifard, chair of OSA’s Oregon Students of Color Coalition and newly appointed- State Board of Higher Education member, explained, “These students can’t wait any longer. A bill this critical deserves an up or down vote on the House floor. The future of these students shouldn’t be held hostage to a partisan political process, especially since SB 742 has had such wide bi-partisan support for months.”
Raul Reyes, a student leader at Mt. Hood Community College, could be a college admission board’s poster child. Having attended both Floyd Light Middle School and Centennial High School, Raul did it all. From wrestling to outdoor school counselor, he has been a role model and high achieving student.
Now successfully finishing his time at MHCC, Raul aspires to major in Mathematics and Economics and PSU. There’s just one problem—if he enrolls at one of Oregon’s public universities after he gradu- ates, Raul has to pay up to three times as much as his fellow students.
“This will open doors and allow me to give back and continue with my education.” Reyes commented.
“SB 742 is about education, advancement, and opportunity. By making Oregon university tuition accessible to me and many other undocumented students, we would also be bringing revenue to the universities that wouldn’t be there otherwise.”
The bill has the support of the Oregon University System, the State Board of Higher Education, and university presidents around the state. The state board of higher education passed a resolution in support of SB 742. Legislators have until the end of the day Tuesday to sign the discharge petition.
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