TUITION EQUITY IN OREGON (HB 2787):CREATING A PATHWAY FOR ALL STUDENTS TO SUCCEED AND CONTRIBUTE
Tuition equity is a term used to describe the provision of in-state tuition to students who are technically
“undocumented” based on
legal residency status. Many of these students have attendedsome or all of their K-12 education in the U.S., but due to the status of their parents, must pay out-of-state tuition at Oregon University System campuses.Tuition Equity legislation through
House Bill 2787
would allow some of these students, who haveattended an Oregon K-12 school for a certain period of time, to pay in-state tuition, earn a degree, seek legal status, and be able to contribute fully as Oregon taxpayers andcitizens.
Oregon Legislation in 2013 Session
In summary, HB 2787 states that undocumented students would beeligible for in-state (resident) tuition at an OUS institution if theymeet certain requirements, including:(1)
attending an elementary or secondary school in the U.S. for at least five years and in Oregon for at least the last three yearsof that time before getting a diploma, or equivalent, orleaving school;(2)
enrolling in an OUS institution within three years of getting adiploma, or equivalent, or leaving school; and(3)
showing intention to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States by filing an affidavit with theOUS institution, stating that they attend/plan to attend andthat they have filed an application to legalize theirimmigration status, or will do so when they are eligible.A student would continue to qualify for in-state tuition for amaximum of five years after initial enrollment.
Broad Support for Tuition Equity
For several biennia, the Oregon Student Association has sought legislation on tuition equity. On March 4, 2011, the State Board of Higher Education unanimously endorsed tuition equity legislation,and asked the Oregon Legislature to support the adoption of it.Previously, in May 2010, the Board approved a resolution relatedto the national DREAM Act (see side bar), to ensure a strong futureworkforce and economy, and to support students who havesucceeded in their secondary education in Oregon, often with
distinction, and who will contribute to Oregon’s communities in the
There is legislation at the national levelfor Tuition Equity called the DREAM Act,which was voted on in 2011 but did notreceive approval. The DREAM Act(Development, Relief, and Education forAlien Minors) is bipartisan legislation toclear up the immigration status of andaddress federal barriers to educationand work confronted by the U.S.-raisedchildren of undocumented immigrants.A growing number of states have passeda version of Tuition Equity legislation,including Washington, Texas, Utah, NewMexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois,New York and California; and there areseveral other states that have billsrelated to Tuition Equity pending in theirlegislatures.President O
bama’s recent 2012
Executive Order to temporarily alloweligible immigrants to apply for workpermits and get a two-year deportationdeferral for a period may help somestudents in Oregon, but it does notaddress in-state tuition forundocumented students. The OregonLegislature still needs to pass legislationto allow for this.