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Office of the Senate President


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News Release


                                                                        February 13, 2013


Courtney: Tuition Equity is About

A Path of Opportunity for Kids

(SALEM) – Senate President Peter Courtney testified Wednesday in front of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee in favor of legislation that will provide equity in tuition costs for all Oregon high school students regardless of their immigration status.


House Bill 2787 would allow graduates of Oregon high schools who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents to pay the same in-state tuition rates paid by their classmates who are legal residents of Oregon and the United States. Courtney is the sponsor of Senate Bill 10, a separate tuition equity bill this session, and is the chief Senate sponsor of the house measure.


“This bill does not guarantee these kids admission to a college or university. It does not guarantee them a degree. It does not guarantee them financial aid or scholarship,” Courtney said. “It simply gives them a path – a path to opportunity, a path to the American dream, a path to being a taxpayer, a path to greatness, and a path to being a contributor to our economy in the light of day, not relegated to the shadows.”


In his first session as Senate President in 2003, Courtney introduced a tuition equity measure at the request of the principal of Woodburn High School. It passed the Senate 22-8. A measure sponsored by former Sens. Frank Morse and Dave Nelson passed the Senate 18-11 in 2011. Both measures died without a hearing in the House.


Courtney testified Wednesday that the difference in cost between the in-state tuition rates paid by most Oregon high school graduates and the out-of-state/international rates charged to students brought to this country illegally by their parents is staggering. Four years of tuition at the University of Oregon averages $37,032. The out-of-state rate for four years of tuition at UO is $114,612.


The $77,580 difference is keeping many qualified Oregon high school graduates from attending college at all. All those students want is the same chance to succeed as their high school classmates, the President said.