The Clackamas Print
By Patty Salazar
May 1st, 2013
On what would normally be a quiet day on the Salem Capitol steps, last Thursday turned out to be a rather full day. Hundreds of Oregon college students were there promoting funding for higher education; students from all over Oregon attended the Salem rally. Associated Student Government President Diana Muresan was one of the many students to be there.
“I believe they have over 800 students signed up,” said Muresan.
With tuition prices rising all over the state, it is definitely being felt right on campus. Starting summer term, CCC students will have to pay $84 per credit hour. Although community college students feel the financial sting, it can burn even hotter for four-year university students.
“This one [rally] is specifically for the budget because that is our biggest concern,” Muresan said.
According to the Oregon Student Association, students are asking for $510 million for community colleges, $850 for universities and $15 million for the Oregon Opportunity Grant. The OOG is the state’s only source of need-based financial aid. Many students also have loan debt adding up, such as Travis Van Horn, a political student at Western Oregon University.
“The main purpose for today was to get more funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant for students. Also spread awareness that the fact that every single person that is here has over $10,000 in debt,” said Van Horn.
He predicts he will be $25,000 in debt by the time is he done. Another WOU student, sophomore Diego Navarro, suspects he will be in debt $40 thousand by the time he is done with college.
“We are just letting our representatives know that we see our tuitions going up and that is something that we are against. It is showing them that we are pushing them to make changes and they see us advocating for what we need, so that’s good,” Navarro said.
“Not that long ago, the state paid for two thirds of our tuition now that’s flipped and we pay the two thirds, that’s on our backs. I think the main accomplishment was to show students that information and also show legislators that was their doing and it is their responsibility to reverse that once again,” said Van Horn.
After the main rally, Muresan lobbied for a public service reform; Schools Not Prisons, a reform that is trying to change how nonviolent crimes are sentenced to lower the cost of The Oregon Department of Corrections and be invested into higher education.
“We were talking about how it’s a self fulfilling prophecy: about how you put more money into the jails they will fill the beds. So they should be giving us more money,” Muresan said.