Measure provides relief for Oregon grads who pursue science, technology, engineering and math
On a party-line vote, House Democrats blocked consideration of HB 3272 which would have created an innovative tuition forgiveness program to promote degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The measure would create a forgivable loan program for Oregon’s top students who attend a public higher education school, earn a degree in one of the STEM fields, and stay in Oregon for work immediately following graduation.
“Jobs in science, technology, engineering and math are in high demand here in Oregon, but we don’t have the workforce in-state to support them,” said Rep. John Davis (R – Wilsonville) who introduced the measure. “This measure not only provides an incentive to Oregon’s brightest students to stay in state and pursue these degrees, but it also supports the growth of these companies in Oregon.”
The forgivable loan program would be available for up to 500 Oregon high school graduates who have a GPA of 3.8 or higher and score in the top 10 percent of their class on 11th grade evaluations. Students would have to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in college, complete their degree in a STEM field in five years or less, and work within Oregon for no less than 36 out of the 48 months following graduation. In addition, during and after their college careers, the students would have to give back to the community by volunteering in STEM-related service programs, like science or robotics clubs. The loans would be available only to cover the cost of tuition.
“Oregon’s tech, engineering and other science-based businesses are clamoring for smart, well-educated employees, and this program would encourage Oregon’s best students to enter those fields and stay in Oregon,” Davis added.
House Republicans plan to continue to promote the program and pursue its adoption in future sessions.