House Democrats Praise Passage of Tuition Equity


Measure would expand access to college, proponents believe it will help economy with more highly skilled workforce.

Oregon House Democrats unanimously voted in favor of legislation that will expand equity in tuition costs to all Oregon high school students, regardless of their immigration status. The final vote on House Bill 2787 was 38-18, with four members absent.

In order to qualify under HB 2787, students must attend an Oregon high school for three years, graduate from an Oregon high school, be admitted to an Oregon University System institution and be in the process of becoming a citizen.

“It’s time for Oregon to give motivated, hard-working students equal access to higher education,” said Representative Michael Dembrow (D-NE Portland), a chief sponsor of HB 2787 and long-time champion of Tuition Equity. “The admissions process would still be the same, and students would only gain admission based on their academic merit.”

Children who were illegally brought to the United States by their parents at a young age currently face the hurdle of paying much higher, out-of-state tuition rates.

At the University of Oregon, for example, the current average cost of in-state tuition is

$37,032 for a four-year degree. The current cost for out-of-state is $114,612, creating a difference of $77,580.

“The current cost prohibits students who have lived here their whole lives from getting an education that will lead them down a path of success,” said Rep. Betty Komp (D-Woodburn), a chief sponsor of the bill. “It prohibits some of Oregon’s best and brightest from having their dreams fulfilled. These students are my neighbors, my friends and the future of our State.”

Thirteen other states have already passed laws allowing in-state tuition.

“These hard working students deserve a fair shot at college,” House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D- Eugene) said Friday. “This bill creates a path for more young, motivated Oregonians to stay right here in Oregon and continue working toward a bright future. House Democrats are focused on education and the economy this session, and tuition equity brings together both of those priorities.”

“All the major statewide business organizations support this bill,” newly elected Rep. Joe Gallegos (D – Hillboro) said. “They know we need to produce a highly skilled workforce to keep Oregon competitive. Higher education gives Oregonians increased earning power that can help create a better quality of life for all Oregonians.”


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

Leave A Reply