Oregon Public Universities
2024 Legislative Agenda
Showing Up for Oregon’s Students and Workforce Needs
Oregon’s public universities appreciate 2023 investments supporting Oregon’s students. For the 2024 Legislative Session, universities are asking the state to complete unfinished work through targeted investments that will support students inside the classroom and as they enter the workforce.
Supporting Students on Campus
$6 million in renewed funding for Strong Start 2.0:
Today’s incoming university students face a variety of challenges with student success due to inadequate preparation as a result of learning loss and other challenges. $6 million in continued funding for the Strong Start program is critical to ensure students are able to succeed in a university environment. Initially a response to COVID-19, this program provides a vital framework for academic support, significantly benefiting first-year and underrepresented students. Strong Start allows universities to offer comprehensive services including summer bridge programs, community-building cohorts, academic skill-building, and ongoing wraparound support. This state investment has led to higher retention rates, stronger GPAs, and increased credit hour completion for participating students, as compared to peers. Renewing this funding is not just about maintaining a response to a past crisis but investing in a proven, sustainable model that enhances academic achievement and equity in Oregon.
$6 million for the 2024 Student Emergency Needs Package:
- $5 million to strengthen student basic needs programs and infrastructure on university campuses.
- $1 million in emergency funding to the Open Educational Resources (OERs) program to improve access to low- or no-cost course materials for the remainder of the biennium. Since 2015, Oregon OER grants have saved students $12 on course materials for every program dollar spent.
Preparing Students to Meet Oregon’s Workforce Needs
$30 million strategic investment to increase the state’s capacity to meet the workforce and research needs of the semiconductor industry:
- $5 million for STEM education and work-based learning,
- $5 million for community college workforce training,
- $5 million for advanced degrees and research, and
- $15 million in one-time, direct allocations to community colleges and universities to kick-start efforts to build or expand semiconductor talent programs to meet urgent industry workforce needs.
$6.2 million to grow the behavioral health workforce serving Oregon communities:
Funding to support initiatives at several of Oregon’s public universities for expanding and diversifying the state’s behavioral health workforce to help address Oregon’s need to provide culturally-specific providers and support underserved communities.
How do I advocate for Oregon’s public universities?
Why get involved as an advocate?
Oregon’s public universities are stronger together than they are alone, but they – and the students they serve – need YOU to advocate on their behalf!
Legislators in Salem want to hear from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and others with personal connections to our public universities about the value they provide to Oregon’s students, and what they need to remain successful.
To continue to meet students’ needs and provide vital student services, Oregon’s public universities require appropriate funding. But legislators want to hear directly from you about why that funding is so important.
How do I get involved as an advocate?
There are so many ways to get involved! You can make a difference by advocating from Salem or even from your kitchen table.
- Testify live in person at Oregon’s Capitol Building or virtually via video conferencing
- Submit written testimony
- Participate in a meeting with your legislator (virtually or in person in Salem)
- Submit an op-ed or letter to the editor to your local newspaper
- Talk to your friends and fellow students/alumni about getting involved
Interested in getting involved? Click on the link below and let us know which advocacy activities you’re most interested in!
If you’ve never been an advocate before—don’t worry! We’ll be here to help you every step of the way. We can help draft or review your testimony, provide talking points for meetings, write letters to the editor, and help you talk with your friends or legislators about why Oregon’s public universities matter to you!
2023 OCOP Advocacy Toolkit
In 2022, the public universities submitted a consolidated funding request (CFR) articulating the importance of maintaining funding for our institutions and student financial aid to protect the current generation of students and preserve the opportunity to participate in post-secondary education. The universities have since revised their funding request to better reflect the level of resources needed to make higher education more attainable for every student.
A Fall 2022 report by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS highlights the vital role of Oregon’s higher education institutions in energizing the state’s economy and accelerating social mobility. The report emphasizes that significant investments in higher education are needed to increase student access, degree completion, and diversity in Oregon’s workforce.