Oregon Holds Tuition Increase Hearing

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EUGENE, Ore. — Students at the University of Oregon are speaking out about the proposed Oregon University System tuition increases.

Ten students testified Friday morning at the Erb Memorial and their message was clear–a good education is getting way too expensive.

UO students who testified say mounting college costs are making it nearly impossible for them to go to college.

“My debt has stolen four years of my life and you want to raise tuition. just how badly do you want high school graduates to question whether college is a good decision?” said Nick Hughes, ASUO member.

“We have students here who can barely afford their books for class and sometimes have to decide between their next meal and their education,” said Lamar Wise, ASUO member.

Students will see a 6 percent hike in tuition and fees next year if the State Board of Higher Education approves the university’s plans.

Students who testified said they didn’t understand why they weren’t actually talking to someone with the state board.

“It is disgraceful to your institution, to the legislature, to the State of Oregon that this public forum does include any members of the Oregon University System board,” said UO student Sam Brickwedde.

Students gave their testimony by speaking into a computer recording system, which the board will consider at a later date.

While no one from the Oregon state board would go on camera, the hearing officer conducting the forum said this is just protocol. They say they compile all of the testimony and review it.

But ASUO Vice President Nick McCain says students should be accountable for some decisions they’ve made for the EMU and Rec Center renovations.

“The two building fees were voted on by students, so that’s something that we decided on, that we believe in these projects. So we decided that we should be charged that extra amount,” McCain said.

If the increase is approved, tuition and fees would cost $9,852 next year, up $542 from the current year.

The hearing officer KEZI 9 News spoke with mentioned this is only the third step in the process. There will be a chance to testify at the finance committee meeting May 24. It will then go to the full board June 21.

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