State Affairs Agenda
The role the state of Oregon plays in our operations and business stretches far and wide. UO is not just an institution of higher learning, but also a major employer, economic driver, and community partner in the region.
The University of Oregon works diligently will all state entities that have an impact on its work. This includes the Oregon State Legislature, the Office of the Governor, the Higher Education Coordination Commission, and many other state other boards, commissions or agencies.
The UO’s specific policy priorities and budget requests change from session to session, but its core agenda remains the same.
- Investment in public university operating budgets: State appropriations for higher education dropped precipitously over the last two decades. As a result, the burden of paying for a college education has shifted from the state to students and their families. UO and its advocates will fight year after year to protect and increase funding so that higher education remains accessible and affordable.
- Investment in financial aid: UO supports increased investment in need-based financial aid programs like the Oregon Opportunity Grant, which makes college a reality for more low-income, underrepresented, first-generation students.
- Investment in capital construction: One of the ways the State partners with UO is to provide bonding for the construction and renovation of buildings. In order to provide an excellent academic experience for students, UO must have safe, accessible, and high-quality spaces for students to learn, faculty to teach, and the community to gather.
- Implementation of policies that benefit students and the university: UO works continually to ensure that the legislation and policies adopted by the state help students be successful and ensure public universities can be nimble, accessible, and excellent.
State Budget and Legislative Agenda
See the University of Oregon 2023 State Budget and Legislative Agenda for our plan to access an affordable degree for all students.
- Keep tuition low for working families: The Public University Support Fund (PUSF) is the primary source of state funding for operations and services to students. We are asking for a baseline budget of $1.05 billion in the PUSF for all public universities in Oregon for the 2023–25 biennium, which is $150 million more than the 2021–23 budget. This allocation will help the UO and other public universities ensure that tuition for incoming students is as low as possible and allow campuses to continue to provide necessary wraparound services to support students. Oregon currently ranks 45th in the nation for funding received from the state; $150 million more won’t get us to where we need to be, but this is a necessary down payment toward opportunity for all students.
- Make a degree affordable for low-income students: The Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) is Oregon’s largest state-funded, need-based grant program for college students. Approximately 40,000 students receive Oregon Opportunity Grants each year, including 2,600 UO students. Currently, Oregon lags two and a half times behind the national average for student aid programs. We cannot begin to meet the goals of increasing the number of Oregonians attending and finishing college without an influx to the Oregon Opportunity Grant.
- Supporting students in unprecedented times: Building on the success of the recent summer bridge programming and doing everything we can to meet incoming students’ needs post pandemic, the universities are collectively requesting the continuation of Strong Start. This summer bridge program provides targeted programs and care to students who need it the most when they first walk onto campus. This program has been proven to lead to better grades and higher retention rates for students who participate.
- Scholarships from sports lottery: Funding intercollegiate athletics and academic scholarships through the Sports Lottery positively effects enrollment, retention, and increased diversity for about 2,500 students every year at Oregon’s public universities. In the 2021–23 biennium, a full 1% of Sports Lottery provided about $15 million to athletics and graduate scholarships across the seven universities. Sports Lottery scholarships also help universities meet Title IX requirements to equitably fund women’s athletics and provide academic scholarships to graduate students.
- Address Oregon's most pressing issues through state service programs: State Service Programs contribute to local communities in all 36 Oregon counties. Programs that receive state funding at the UO include the Labor Education Research Center, the TallWood Design Institute, the Oregon Office of Community Dispute Resolution, the Clinical Legal Education Program, and signature research centers like the Oregon Nanoscience and MicroTechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI).
- Restoring facilities for better student outcomes: In the 2023 session, UO is seeking $75.4 million from the state for our capital request to restore historic Friendly Hall. The Friendly Hall Deferred Maintenance and Renovation Project will create a modern, user-friendly home—including a comprehensive career ready center—in the heart of the campus. The renovated building will bring together UO’s School of Global Studies and Language programs currently in different buildings around campus and make the building safer and accessible for all students.
Federal Affairs Agenda
While specific concerns vary by Congressional session, UO’s federal agenda is focused on student aid, research funding, and federal activities involving universities that are particularly important to our region and state.
Student aid: Almost 9,500 University of Oregon students depend upon about $165 million in federal financial aid to make college more attainable.
Research funding: UO faculty make a bigger impact with their work when they secure external support for their research. The federal government funds the vast majority of research at UO.
- Special priorities: Federal activities and funding involving universities that are particularly important to our region and the state of Oregon such as ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning program.
We coordinate our federal advocacy activities with national coalitions, including the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, The Science Coalition, and the Student Aid Alliance. We work closely with our elected leaders representing Oregon in Congress and draw upon our national network of alumni whenever we can.