As state university students prepare for — or try not to think about — the fall term, young undocumented immigrants who have lived in Oregon for years have one less thing to worry about. At the start of July they saw a dramatic decrease in their school bill as their tuition went from the out-of-state rate to in-state. At the University of Oregon, an out-of-state student pays roughly $30,000 in tuition and fees while an Oregonian pays about $10,000.
The change comes after a 10-year legislative effort. In 2003 tuition equity passed the Senate but then, just as it did in 2011, it failed in the House. This year, five House Republicans, mostly from rural districts, joined Democrats to pass the bill. In the next two years, the Oregon University System expects about 38 students to benefit from the legislation, with 80 taking advantage of the lower rates the following two years.
The law limits in-state tuition to students who attended school in the US for five years, went to an Oregon high school for three years, graduated and then enrolled in a state school within three years. Finally, they must prove they’re seeking citizenship or permanent residency.
Are you a student living in Oregon without documentation? How will tuition equity affect you?