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Secretary Audits University System

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EUGENE, Ore. — An audit of the Oregon University System has the secretary of state calling for change.

Secretary Kate Brown wants to see more affordable options in the state’s public universities and debt reduction for college students in Oregon.

Students KEZI 9 News spoke with say the cost of going after a degree these days makes it incredibly difficult.

“It’s simply unaffordable, and students are struggling and hurting because of it,” said University of Oregon student Amy Jones.

College students in Oregon have made it no secret that they think tuition is too high. According to them, the price of going to college jumped dramatically, creating a burden for anyone trying to get their degree.

“Tuition prices have shot up farther than any commodity on the market in the past decade,” said UO student Joshua Seligsohn.

“It’s extremely difficult working to keep up with everything,” said UO student Azia Calderhead.

The Secretary of State’s Office says that tuition and fees increased faster than inflation as the state’s spending on education dropped.

“When we see them continue to rise, we’re kind of wondering what’s going to be done to stop that,” Jones said.

Brown thinks the current structure of the Oregon University System created confusion and a lack of accountability for the state’s universities.

“We need to know how much it costs to educate an Oregon university student, and we need greater accountability. Improving our higher education system is critical to Oregon’s economic growth,” Brown said.

The audit also revealed alarming statistics regarding student debt. According to the report, students from OUS schools graduate with 9 percent more debt than the national average.

Students say they’ve had to take on excruciating schedules to make ends meet.

“I have a campus job here, and I’m working over 20 hours a week just to be able to afford to go here,” Jones said.

For Secretary Brown, a college education is key to the state’s future–a future that students hope includes more affordable tuition.

Students also told KEZI 9 News that tuition is really just one piece of the puzzle. They say that textbooks and rent to live close to campus also made it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

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  1. JC says:

    I would contend that since the state’s funding of higher education has been slashed by over half in the last decade that the reason tuition has shot up is due to the state pulling money from Education to give to say, welfare/food stamps/health care, etc….so, much like the current national climate, the impetus is on the state to provide ample funding to the OUS in order to keep costs down. It’s very similar to the national climate that we have now where the PO(S)TUS says we need to spend all this money on the people who aren’t contributing by taking from those who do. If you want a stronger higher education system in Oregon that’s affordable, PAY FOR IT. And yes, I do work in Higher ed in the state, but all that means is that I receive sub-standard pay (benefits included, they’re not that great folks….) compared to Oregon’s open market, while the governor just signed legislation to limit contributions to the PERS fund….so after a life of receiving 75% of what I could’ve earned on the open market (and I’m not a PERS Tier 1, so I don’t get those perqs – I’m pretty much in a 401K) and having promised me that you’ll have my back in retirement, you prove just how you have it – with a meat hook. THANKS!

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