Tuition Equity

“Education is an opportunity given to us which creates opportunities for others.” Jose Gonzalez, president of Tu Casa Real Estate

Causa is working with our allies to pass legislation in 2013 that creates equitable tuition rates for all of students, regardless of family documentation status. Current Oregon law requires proof of citizenship to qualify for in-state tuition rates. This means that many of Oregon’s brightest students are being priced out of state colleges and universities.

Fourteen states across the country currently have tuition equity laws, and Oregon is the only state on the West Coast without such a law. Like the fourteen states who have tuition equity, Oregon’s proposed policy would require students to:

  • attend a school in the state for a minimum of five years;
  • graduate from high school in the state; and
  • File a signed affidavit of intent to achieve legal status

Access to education is a fundamental Oregon value. Yet certain students in Oregon face tuition rates nearly three times as high as in-state tuition rates, despite being long-time residents of the state. Tuition equity removes this barrier, and allows hard working students to stay and study in Oregon.

“What [Tuition Equity] does is expand opportunity to more young Oregonians…There is a group of young Oregonians who have been priced out of education in this state.” Representative Michael Dembrow

“If we by policy create a circumstance in which we take a class of young people and deny them opportunity, are we improving Oregon? No, we’re not.” Senator Frank Morse


By extending in-state tuition rates to all residents, tuition equity will move Oregon closer to achieving the 40-40-20 education goals by 2025. A report by the Urban Institute suggests that only 5-10% of undocumented high school graduates go on to college. Removing non-resident cost barriers will help increase the number of students graduating from college.

“I was brought to the United States by my parents when I was three years old….my parents sacrificed to make sure we could succeed…. I can see my future but I am being told that I don’t have one….My dream is to go to college and get my degree in astronomy. I don’t want to become a statistic. I want to succeed.” Eliseo Reyes

Tuition equity will increase economic activity and state revenues from taxes. College graduates on average earn more, pay more in taxes, and have lower unemployment rates.

  • A report by the Oregon Business Council found that households headed by a person with a four-year degree made up 36% of households but paid more than 53% of all state income taxes. Oregon residents with a four-year degree contribute approximately $3,100 a year in state income taxes compared to $1,880 for residents with a high school degree.

Tuition equity will make Oregon more competitive by increasing the number of college graduates in the state.

  • According to The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2/3 of all jobs by 2018 in Oregon will require some level of postsecondary education.

“Tuition Equity supports the Oregon business communities’ goal of achieving a more educated workforce for our state. Educated Oregonians are essential for economic recovery and growth.” Representative of Associated Oregon Industries

Tuition Equity is a no-cost investment in education. Tuition equity has the potential to not only increase college graduation rates, but to also increase revenues for the Oregon University System from tuition and fees.

  • The fiscal analysis performed in 2011 by the Oregon University System forecasted a $608,013 increase in net revenue between 2013-2015 if Tuition Equity passed.

Students are the biggest investors in Oregon public universities. Tuition and fees make up 63% of revenue per student received by the Oregon University System. Tuition equity allows more students to invest in their education and invest in Oregon schools.

Check out a short video of the Tuition Equity Hearing in 2011