January 27th, 2015
Nobody could say that Oregon doesn't value higher education.
We're so fond of it we have a state policy declaring that some time in the future — maybe around the time Interstate 5 is replaced by a Disney people mover — 40 percent of Oregon adults will have at least a four-year college degree and another 40 percent will have a two-year degree.
We're just not big on paying for it.
The multiyear national trend of states cutting college spending and increasing tuition and student debt levels is the rare area where we've been a higher education leader, starting from an especially low point and then dropping faster — to where we're 47th in higher ed funding in the country. A below-average per-capita income makes our tuition levels even harder for students and families to reach. A proposal by state Treasurer Ted Wheeler to issue bonds to set up a state scholarship fund got clobbered by voters last November.