New Oregon budget forecast brings optimism for higher education

With a new Oregon budget forecast showing a boost of more than $1 billion in tax revenue above previous estimates, higher education officials see an opening for more money to fund public colleges and universities.

Oregon’s higher ed leaders hope that some of that anticipated funding can go to state financial aid. At least one university has said it would scale back its tuition increase for the upcoming academic year if the state provides additional financial support.

Late last year, when Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released her proposed budget, she designated about $836 million to the Public University Support Fund, the source of money for operations and programs at the state’s seven public universities. Brown’s recommendation left the universities flat-funded — with the same amount they received last biennium.

With this newest state budget forecast, it’s looking promising that the public universities may get more than that. The universities have been advocating together for a total of $900 million in the Public University Support Fund. And that amount has already inched up from the governor’s initial recommendation.

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