Oregon’s Free College Plan Is Broke, Say Officials
The ambitious plan to give free junior college tuition to students in Oregon is fast running out of money, and legislators say the program could wind up breaking the 'promise' of legislators who created it.
According to a report published online at mycolumbiabasin.com, the Oregon Promise program is out of money and it threatens the spring tuition of the program members.
When it was first started, the program promised free tuition for the first two years for qualifying junior college students who are Oregon residents, have a minimum GPA of at least 2.5, or score at least 145 or higher on the GED exam.
The report says Oregon legislators originally funded the Promise plan with $10 million dollars, but that has not been enough. The program is out of money, and the spring semester cannot be funded for hundreds of students unless more money can be found.
Blue Mountain Community College officials say proposed legislation would lift that $10 million cap, and could provide another $3.5 million. But critics say down the road, the program will just run into the same issues again. They say it's another reason why ideas of free college will just not work financially.
Officials say if the money is not approved it will affect hundreds of students statewide, including about 140 at Blue Mountain, located in Hermiston.