UO achieves key goals in 2018 legislative session
The 2018 Oregon Legislature adjourned Saturday, March 3.
In a session marked by conversations about climate change and the passage of a bill restricting gun sales in the wake of the shooting at Parkland High School in Florida, The University of Oregon achieved some wins on key priorities, and received half of the funding requested for the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. Lawmakers protected universities from cuts to operating budgets, ensured DREAMers can continue to qualify for in-state tuition even in the face of federal inaction on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and allocated another $20 million in bonding authority for the Knight.
“This takes us further to making sure the dream becomes a reality,” said President Michael Schill. “We are really grateful to the legislature, the governor who pushed this, and we are grateful to our local legislators for their support.”
Aside from budgets and bonding, the Legislature approved several measures that will impact UO:
HB 4035 – Requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) provide full resident tuition assistance at community colleges and public universities for qualifying members of the Oregon National Guard.
HB 4053 – Aims to better understand how well accelerated credit programs like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate requirements are working for Oregon students.
HB 4063 – Creates a task force on public policy related to autonomous vehicles and specifies a place for a representative from a public university on task force.
HB 4141 – Creates new statutory provisions around the campus process for tuition-setting. The bill ensures public university students have the opportunities for education and engagement in every step of the process. UO is already implementing most of the new requirements, including the formation of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board, publicly posting meetings and materials, and providing opportunities for public comment and feedback.
SB 1554 – Ensures that an individual or family’s contribution to a 529 Oregon College Savings Plan does not count toward determining eligibility to receive assistance or benefits like food stamps.
SB 1557 – Protects university students who serve in the military by allowing them to complete missing assignments or exams in accordance with university policies if they are called to duty.
SB 1563 – Ensures that undocumented students can continue to qualify for tuition equity in Oregon and can legally receive scholarships and financial aid.
SB 1566 – Takes the first steps toward addressing Oregon’s PERS unfunded liability by establishing a state matching fund for employers to contribute to in order to pay down their own outstanding liability.