Proposal would cap UO tuition increases at 5 percent

Proposal would cap UO tuition increases at 5 percent

SALEM, Ore. - The University of Oregon has proposed a significant change in the way the school is funded and the way it's governed.

The University wants an $800 million endowment from the state, which the school would match dollar for dollar.

In return, the UO would be able to raise money without the strict oversight of state lawmakers.

College students and UO administrators went to the Capitol in Salem on Tuesday, where legislators are considering the University's proposal.

"The status quo as you know is not acceptable," said state Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene. "We do not have a good record as a state whether you go back to the 90s or you go back to the 70s of controlling the rate of tuition increases."

The school would use the endowment and matching money to help keep tuition costs lower.
UO President Richard Larivierre told a Senate panel that if the current system is not changed, tuition will nearly double to $17,000 a year by 2020.

A large group of students packed the Capitol today here in salem showing up at the hearing room looking to testify and let the Senate panel know they're worried about what this bill will mean for their tuition.

"We're worried that this is going to mean tuition is going to skyrocket without the legislature being able to hold the university accountable," said Amelie Rousseau, president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, "and really limit access so we're here to make sure the university is public and stays true to it's mission."

"We hope that it will flatten the rate of tuition increases," Larivierre replied. "Tuition increases have been 7 1/2 percent on average for the last 38 years, and my view is that's way too high."

The proposal allows for a five percent per year increase in tuition. 

Any larger increase would have to be approved by both the legislature and the governor.

Under the proposal, the University would be overseen by a new 15 member board of directors with seven members appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.