On Dec.1 Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released her recommended budget for the 2021-23 biennium.
The Governor’s budget is based on the November 2020 revenue forecast, which continued to predict modest revenue growth and shows that state collections had largely recovered from the Covid-19 associated shutdowns that occurred during the spring of 2020. The November forecast however did not capture lost revenue associated with current Covid-19 restrictions.
The proposed budget may impact the University of Oregon in the following ways:
Public University Support Fund
The fund that provides operating funds to Oregon’s seven public universities was held flat at $836,898,583. Because of the way the state splits biennial funding (49% in the first year, and 51% in the second) flat funding constitutes an estimated $3 million cut to UO for FY 22.
The Governor maintained current funding levels for University State Programs. At the UO these programs include Engineering Technology Sustaining Funds (ETSF), the Tall Wood Design Institute, the Oregon Office of Community Dispute Resolution (OOCDR), Signature Research Centers, the Labor Education Research Center (LERC), and Clinical Legal Education.
The Governor recommends $309.4 million in funding for university capital construction projects, including $80 million for a Capital Improvement and Renewal (CI&R) a fund that is distributed to campuses by formula. The Governor also included $58.5 million for UO’s Heritage project, a renovation of University of Villard Halls that will provide critical seismic, fire, and life safety upgrades and make the facilities accessible and compatible with modern technology and classroom learning while preserving the architectural and historic significance of the site.
Funding for Sports lottery scholarships was increased slightly to a total of $15.1M. UO receives $1,030,000 of these funds for scholarships for student athletes and graduate students.
The Governor recommended increasing funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon’s largest state-funded, need-based grant program for college students, by $4.7 million, bringing the total amount to $114.2 million.
The Governor recommended increasing funding for the Oregon Promise, which covers tuition costs at Oregon community colleges for recent high school and GED test graduates, by $1.26 million, bringing total funding for the program to $42.2 million.
The Legislature will convene on January 19, 2021 and are constitutionally required to adopt a balanced budget no later than June 28, 2021.The state economists will deliver three revenue forecasts before the legislature must conclude their work this summer.