Tuition buy-down means University of Oregon students will only pay 3.4 percent more next year

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has reduced the University of Oregon’s tuition increase to 3.4 percent from 5.8. The board also capped tuition increases at 3.5 percent for the next two years. That means resident undergraduates taking 15 credits will see their overall bill go up by $270 next year rather than the original $465 approved by the state board earlier this year and a maximum of $290 the following year should the UO ask for another increase.

The reduced rate was enacted by the OUS as a response to legislation passed in Salem recently. Near the end of its latest session, the Oregon Legislature approved a $15 million package known as a tuition buy-down that would cap rate increases at all seven Oregon University System schools at 3.5 percent for the coming year.

“We are grateful to the Governor and Legislature for this additional investment, which helps make our public universities more affordable for current and in-coming students,” interim OUS Chancellor Melody Rose wrote in a press release. “Our hope, which I know we share with Oregon students and families, is that this is the beginning of a rebalance in the state-student share of college costs.”

Two decades ago, the legislature covered 70 percent of a student’s tuition and fees with students contributing the remaining 30 percent. Those figures have now reversed, with students footing 70 percent of the bill and accruing record debt as they do so — student loans have recently surpassed credit cards as the number one source of debt for American residents. This is also the first year in quite some time that the Oregon Legislature has approved additional funding for the state’s institutes of higher education.

For students however, the increase is a drop in the bucket compared to the final statement they’ll receive from the UO upon graduating.

“It’s not that much extra, but I wish it didn’t go up,” said Madison Justine Layton, an incoming freshman. “My parents know it’s worth it, so they won’t be too upset. It’s definitely a relief that it’s not going up as much, but it still sucks,” Layton said.

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