Bill would offer in-state tuition to undocumented students at Oregon graduate schools

FILE - University of Oregon (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - State lawmakers are looking to expand in-state tuition.

If it's voted into law, SB 859 would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition for public Oregon graduate programs if they:

  • Qualified for undergraduate tuition equity
  • Attended Oregon K-12 schools for at least three years, or went to a U.S. school for a minimum of five years
  • Demonstrate intent to become a U.S. citizen

According to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, this would currently affect about 250 students.

Many University of Oregon students support the bill.

“If we have people who have been living here and then can pay in-state tuition for grad school, because I'm a grad student, it's expensive; I support that,” PhD student Megan Reynolds says.

“In many cases, international students have a choice in where they want to go, and they choose to be here,” international student Marina Dominguez says. “Some other people consider the U.S. their home, and I feel like it's really important that they feel like they can afford a place.”

But some students point out that those students who pay about $30,000 each year for out-of-state graduate tuition - yet went to school in the U.S. - might not be so thrilled.

“If anyone's going to have to pay more money, they're not going to be happy,” UO student Matt Byhre says.

The state Senate passed the bill 23-7. Now it heads to the House for consideration.

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