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Oregon Governor Urges Higher Education Panel To Scrutinize Tuition Increases

File photo of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown
Office of the governor
File photo of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is leaning on the state's public college and universities to curb tuition increases.

Brown sent a letter to Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission, which signs off on tuition hikes. The Democrat urged the panel to reject any proposed tuition increase that exceeds 5 percent unless school leaders can show they have cost containment plans in effect and can offer evidence that alternatives were seriously considered.

The letter was welcome news to Oregon State University political science major Tabitha Pitzer. She said she and her parents are already taking out the maximum amount of loans that they can. 

"It makes me question if it's all worth it and if it will pay off in the end, already knowing that there's questions of whether or not I'll be able to buy a home or a car or start a family already with the debt that I have,” Pitzer said.

Tuition increases are tied heavily to state funding levels. Oregon lawmakers are trying to cobble together a budget in the face of a $1.6 billion budget shortfall. It comes as some schools including Portland State University and the University of Oregon are proposing tuition hikes of 9 or 10 percent.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.