Our Opinion: Oregon Promise doesn’t go far enough

July 23, 2015 / Phil Lesch

Portland Tribune
July 16th, 2015

When it comes to higher education, Oregon has a problem.

When the Oregon Education Investment Board launched the 40-40-20 plan, it was ambitious, to say the least. It aimed for 40 percent of Oregonians to have a baccalaureate degree (or higher), 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or certification in a skilled occupation, and the remaining 20 percent to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent — all by 2025.

Since its launch, we’ve seen Oregon high school graduation rates drop to the lowest level in the nation. That’s dead last in the United States.

Once students do graduate from high school (or earn equivalent certification), then they face high tuition rates for college. In-state tuition and fees for both Oregon State University and the University of Oregon are approaching $10,000 per year. When you add on housing and other expenses, higher education becomes something that only a select few can afford — without taking on a crushing amount of student debt.

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