Oregon’s three higher education organizations, the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (The Alliance), the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA), and the Oregon Council of Presidents (OCOP), together with the Oregon Student Association (OSA), commend the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee for approving House Bill 5025, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) agency budget, which includes an additional $100 million to the Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG). This investment will increase the state’s primary need-based financial aid program budget to a total of $308.4 million, as well as fund the Oregon Tribal Student Grant on a continuing basis at $24.2 million. This substantial increase in funding will greatly enhance financial aid opportunities for eligible Oregon students pursuing higher education across the state.
Financial aid is a vital component in empowering students to achieve their higher education goals. It serves as a lifeline for countless individuals, breaking down the financial barriers that would otherwise impede their educational pursuits. The Oregon Opportunity Grant and the Oregon Tribal Student Grant play a critical role in opening doors of opportunity for Oregon students, providing them with the necessary resources to access and complete their college education.
Equally significant is the principle of allowing the money to follow the students. Recognizing the importance of individual choice and personalization in education, we advocate for students to have the autonomy to select the educational institution and environment that best aligns with their distinct needs, aspirations, and learning styles. Granting students the freedom to direct their financial aid empowers them to make informed decisions about their educational journey, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and successful college experience.
Investing in education is an investment in the future of Oregon. By expanding financial aid programs and advocating for the money to follow the students, we are creating a more inclusive and accessible higher education landscape. The $100 million increase to the Oregon Opportunity Grant and funding the Oregon Tribal Student Grant on a continuing basis marks a significant milestone in our joint efforts to remove barriers and create equal opportunities for all Oregon students, a testament to Oregon’s collective commitment to equity in education.
Together, these four organizations in Oregon’s higher education landscape have championed the cause of affordable and accessible education, ensuring that the voices of students are heard and valued. We thank the Governor and Legislature for their commitment to providing critical investments in Oregon’s post-secondary students.