May 6th, 2015
After years of disinvestment in higher education, Oregon’s economic recovery has finally made it possible to boost state funding for our universities. But it turns out that apportioning the gain from reinvestment can be even more challenging than rationing the pain of disinvestment.
So it appears from the comments by Portland State University Professor Ramin Farahmandpur in his April 28 guest opinion, “Failed legacy: Outcomes-based funding.” And so it will be if we fail to recognize that the way the state finances higher education, in both good budget periods and bad, has been unconnected to the needs of our students and unresponsive to the best efforts of our universities.
Our commission recently concluded an analysis of the college-going experience of Oregon’s high school class of 2006. By 2013, 82 percent of these students had graduated from high school or secured a GED. Of these, 80 percent pursued education beyond high school. But only 33 percent completed a two-year or four-year degree.