Revenue Forecast could lead to lower tuition increases

Oregon’s quarterly revenue forecast estimated on May 15 the revenue for 2019–21 to be up by about $737 million. There were also increases in lottery revenue as well as corporate and personal income tax kickers.

“The revenue forecast and strong economy present an excellent opportunity for the legislature to invest in post-secondary education, including increases of no less than $120 million for universities and $57 million for colleges to minimize tuition increases,” said Associate Vice President of Government Relations Kevin Neely.

This could be good news for Portland State and other Oregon public universities hoping to get increased funding from the state in the coming biennium. Right now, PSU is facing a potential 11% tuition increase.

“PSU staff and faculty continue to strongly advocate for more funding in Salem,” Neely said. “At a meeting with seven key legislators last night, they again highlighted the urgency of engagement with university students. I know I am a broken record, but PSU student involvement could help deliver funding to substantially reduce the proposed 2020 tuition increases.”

Around 30–40 PSU students went to the capitol in April to lobby for state funding during the annual PSU Day at the Capitol. Associated Students of PSU did not participate in lobbying this legislative session until the school committed to a tuition freeze in protest of increasing tuition costs.

“With the increase in available revenues, I am cautiously optimistic that the legislature will provide resources above the $40.5 million increase already in the co-chairs budget,” Neely said. “Every legislator knows that to keep tuition at or below 5%, PSU will require a new investment of at least $120 million for the public university support fund.”

Part of the budget proposal approved by the Board of Trustees May 13 included a plan for stepping down tuition costs in the case of increased funding from the state. According to that step-down plan, an investment of $120 million would bring tuition down to 4.9%.