Oregon should follow Texas’ lead on tuition equity

Alan Bates

Sen. Alan Bates

Oregon can catch up to Texas. The Lone Star State has been quicker than Oregon to act on the issue of tuition equity by allowing their undocumented immigrant students who have graduated from local high schools to pay in-state tuition at the state’s universities. Oregon’s been trying for a decade to catch up to Texas on the issue and I’m cautiously optimistic Oregon will “catch” them in the coming weeks when HB 2787 gets a Senate vote.

Tuition equity should apply to service members and they have been included in the bill. Many of these young men and women risk their lives every day for our country. They have earned something as simple and fundamental as equal treatment when they go to college.

To be clear, tuition equity only applies to undocumented students who have grown up in Oregon and have attended Oregon schools. These students have had the Oregon education experience. It’s estimated that no more than 80 students would use the program per year. Those students would have to attend an Oregon elementary or high school for three years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma. Students who wish to use the program must demonstrate intent to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Thirteen other states have already passed similar legislation following the path Texas first charted, including Kansas and Washington. Oregon should be next.

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