Oregon Must Boost Higher Education Investment

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture

Since November of last year, administrators, faculty, staff and students from community colleges and universities throughout Oregon have been busy meeting with legislators regarding the state’s investment in higher education.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has put forth a budget that earmarks $428 million for Oregon’s 17 community colleges for the 2013-2015 biennium. Those of us associated with the state’s community colleges have appreciated the positive direction of this budget—up from $395 million in the 2011-2013 biennium.

That said, our full-time enrollment over the past few years has skyrocketed: At Portland Community College alone, we’ve witnessed a 44 percent spike. The reality is that $428 million is insufficient to meet the needs of community college students across the state. As such, we were disappointed with the recent announcement from the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee that they had not recommended an increase to the governor’s budget for community colleges.

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