On Saturday, June 26, the Oregon Legislature adjourned an unprecedented session. Not only did the Legislature deal with large policy issues related to the pandemic, policing reform, wildfire preparation and more, all the committee work was done remotely and the Capital remained closed to the public for the entire session.
OSU’s Government Relations team would like to extend our appreciation to our advocacy partners both on and off campus. During the session, OSU hosted four virtual stakeholder advocacy days, drawing more than 100 participants from every corner of the state to talk about higher education funding, OSU-Cascades, OSU Statewides and OSU Extension 4-H programing. Through these efforts, stakeholders communicated with all 90 legislators, with our partners at The Beaver Caucus facilitating 277 volunteer advocate emails to legislators. Even in the virtual environment, the presence of OSU’s citizen legislative advocates was meaningful in Salem.
The legislature approved increased funding for student financial aid and Oregon State University programs serving student success, research, OSU Extension and outreach programs statewide, and bonding for key building projects at OSU’s Corvallis and Bend campuses.
“I’m very grateful for the increased support of public higher education by Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon legislators,” said OSU Interim President Becky Johnson. “This support will greatly contribute to student success and graduation, while also advancing the valued statewide work of the OSU Extension Service and OSU research innovation and discovery that serves Oregonians, communities and our state’s economy.”
Higher Education Funding
The following are important investments made by the Legislature in higher education, financial aid, research, and Extension.
|Public University Support Fund – supports operating costs at all seven public universities||$900 million (7.5% increase)|
|Oregon Opportunity Grant – financial aid program for low-income students||$200 million ($28.8m increase)|
|Statewide Public Service Programs – OSU Extension, Ag. Experiment Station, and Forest Research Lab||$151.9m for Statewides (5.88% increase) $4.35m for Statewides Facilities (transfer from PUSF)|
|State Programs – for OSU: Engineering Technology Sustaining Fund, TallWood Design Institute, Fermentation Science, Signature Research, Marine Vessel Program, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Lab||$44.9m for ongoing State Programs (5.88% increase) $2.99m for OVDL (transfer from PUSF)|
|University Innovation Research Fund – federal grant matching fund program in Business Oregon budget||$5 million|
|Oregon Outdoor School – K-12 program administered through OSU Extension||$49.4m (full funding based on May lottery revenue forecast)|
|Sports Lottery – funding for graduate scholarships and women’s programming in athletics departments||$16.5m (full funding based on May lottery revenue forecast, $1.2m to OSU)|
|Campus Veteran’s Resource Grants – program in Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs to support veteran’s resources on campus||$600k (reduction of $400k from 19-21)|
|Strong Start Program – funding for public universities’ summer bridge programs for students entering Fall 2021||$4.7m in HECC budget $1.5m from Federal Aid ($500k to OSU)|
|Wine Smoke Lab – increase capacity for testing of wine grapes and other agricultural crops subject to wildfire smoke||$2.68m|
|Berry Research – program for strawberry grower support at North Willamette Ext. and funding for four students||$150k|
|Avian deaths & wind energy – study in consultation with the Oregon Department of Energy||$427k|
|OSU-Cascades childcare center – Little Kits Early Learning in coordination with COCC||$1m ARPA (federal) funds|
|Wheat Research – lab upgrades at Columbia Basin Ag. Research Center||$100k ARPA (federal)funds|
|Shared Capital Renewal Fund||$80m XI-Q bonds|
|Cordley Hall Renovation||$86m XI-Q and XI-G bonds|
|OSU-Cascades Student Success Center||$13.8m XI-Q and XI-G bonds|
|Reser Stadium West Grandstands||$40m XI-F bonds (self-financed)|
Higher Education and Research Policy
This legislature showed significant interest in higher education policyand governance this session. Some major policies that have been under consideration for several legislative cycles found progress and ultimately passed.
|Policy bills with direct funding||Outcome|
|Benefits Navigators – funds advising staff at all colleges and universities to assist students access public benefits||HB 2835: Passed, supporting ($4.9m)|
|Part-time Faculty Health Care – creating dedicated healthcare insurance program for faculty who work at multiple campuses||SB 551: Passed, concerns about implementation ($12.9m for insurance program)|
|Wildfire Research & Mapping – OSU to support statewide efforts to mitigate and prepare for wildfire||SB 762: Passed, $165k for Institute of Natural Resources and $950k for the College of Forestry for mapping and hosting statewide risk map. $23k to OSU Extension to support the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council and the potential to contract with Oregon Dept. of Forestry for add. collab.|
|Ocean Acidification & Hypoxia Research – funding to support three OSU projects: Molluskan Broodstock, sampling along Hydrographic line and monitoring ocean acidification||HB 3114: Passed, supporting ($370k to OSU)|
|Meat Lab Upgrades – funding to upgrade facilities at Clark Meat Lab||HB 2785: passed, supporting ($300k)|
|Policy bills with no direct funding||Outcome|
|Credit Transfer – establishes Transfer Council and common course numbering process||SB 233: Passed, funding for HECC and transfer portal, unfunded fiscal for universities|
|University Venture Development Fund – 6-year tax credit extension to support donations to innovation programs at universities||HB 2433: Passed, supporting|
|Student Voices Bill – statewide taskforce on underrepresented students to tour state and develop funding recommendations||HB 2590: passed, supporting|
|Student Athlete Name, Image and Likeness – allows student athlete to contract and benefit from a third party for usage of their name, image, and likeness||SB 5: Passed, supporting (unfunded fiscal)|
|On-time Textbook Adoption – requires colleges and universities to post textbook selections for the subsequent term by the day of registration||HB 2919: Passed, supporting (unfunded fiscal)|
|GED placement – allows students who graduated with a ‘college ready’ score on the GED to bypass certain placement tests||HB 2589: Passed, supporting|
|Menstrual Dignity Act – requires all public K-12, colleges, and universities to supply menstrual products in bathrooms at no cost||HB 3294: Passed (unfunded fiscal)|
|COFA student tuition – requires students from Compact of Free Association nations be granted in-state tuition||SB 553: Passed, supporting|
|Student Incidental Fee Authority & Process – clarifies process for adopting student incidental fees||HB 3012: Passed, supporting|
|Student and University Fee Transparency – requires mandatory students fees be prominently displayed||HB 2542: Passed, supporting|
|Student Parent Data – requires a question be added to university forms identifying student parents||SB 564: Passed, supporting|
|Conviction disclosure (admission ‘ban the box’) – prohibits colleges and universities to ask about former criminal convictions for the purposes of admission except in certain programs||SB 713: Passed, supporting|
|Hemp Commission and State Plan – creation of a hemp commodity commission and state plan to support industry and research||HB 2284: Passed, supporting HB 3000 (includes state plan): Passed|
|Non-traditional Educator Pathways – allows for non-university educator preparation programs to offer non-traditional pathways to licensure||HB 2166: Passed|
|Multiple Measures of Educator Assessment – requires educator preparation programs conduct multiple assessments for teacher candidacy||HB 3354: Passed|
|General Counsel Reporting – requires universities to report to Attorney General on use of outside counsel||HB 2214: Passed|
Overall, the 2021 legislative session was successful for Oregon State University, higher education, and Oregon students. However, a few issues remain unresolved and will need continued work in the interim.
Harvest Tax – For decades, a portion of the Harvest Tax, which is a tax on harvested timber, has gone to the OSU College of Forestry. Every legislative session the tax is extended, and the rate is reset depending on projected timber harvest and programing needs. Due to political issues, the Legislature could not agree upon a bill to extend the Harvest Tax, resulting in a sunset of the tax. The dismantling of this unique funding source leaves the College of Forestry with a significant revenue gap. Commitments have been made by legislative leadership to address the issue in a future session by using general funds to back fill the budget shortfall for OSU.
Statewides & State Programs budgets – These program areas did not receive their full continuing service level requests to maintain the same level of programing and services as previous years. We will be prioritizing the full funding of these programs in the 2022 short session.
Governance – There were several bills filed this session that demonstrated a desire from legislators to have a conversation around university governance. The Oregon Public Universities have committed to engage the Association of Governing Boards and legislators in a discussion around governance and best practices during the interim.