covering our community

A Bill that might create more diversity on Oregon Public Colleges

by House Representative Joe Galleogos

by House Representative Joe Galleogos on Feb. 22, 2013

Ever wonder what it would be like to not be able to attend your dream school because you don’t have the proper documents to be accepted. Imagine being raised in a country most of your life, did most of your education in this particular country and graduate with honors and the top percentage of your class, but can’t attend higher education because your legal status.

Imagine what that would feel like, I doubt many of us could because many of us are fortunate to be able to provide proper documentation to attend these institutes.

Tuition Equity is a bill that has been disputed in Oregon’s House of Representative’s for the last few years. But there is a leap of hope for some of these dreamers. This past Friday, February 22, the house passed HB 2787, also known as Tuition Equity.  Now the hope of this bill is left in the hands of the Senate. People supporting this bill are more hopeful than ever, that for once it won’t be shut down.

Now of course there are those who think this is another hand-out from the government. Gabriella Morrongiello believes that Tuition Equity holds a hidden agenda, and doesn’t agree with Tuition Equity. In her blog she strongly believes that it is not fair for her family to pay out of state tuition, while people who are illegally here, and not paying taxes, get a handout to attend Oregonian universities for instate rate.

She shows her anger and frustration through her blog about how this is another handout like food stamps or housing waivers. But my curiosity is, has she ever met a real undocumented family who has been living in these states? Who actually do pay their taxes? Who try to fight hard to provide their best for their family and try to find a legal way to give back to our economy?

Yes there are two biases to every story. She does raise a point about how some bills that are proposed have a hidden agenda, but to say that this is a handout is a bit excessive.

The reason it may be excessive, is because how does she expect all of these kids who are not born here but raised here to go back to a country they might to remember or know anyone in. Why not propose a bill that could give these young kids who didn’t have a choice if they could come to this country, a chance to a student visa and to let them work legally to help our economy.

The Latin population is one of the fastest growing populations, some undocumented, if not many of the population. Even just a student visa so they can attend schools here and then they can go back to their home countries to find a good job that can give them a head start is what I think would be best for these young adults and teenagers who are stuck in a situation they didn’t pick for themselves.

Like I said before there is biases to every story, you just have to look at all the possibilities and what is best in each situation.

There are pro’s and con’s to Tuition Equity, depending on your stance. Tuition Equity would not provide the students who qualify under it any State or Federal financial aid. If they were to attend a public institution they would have to find a way to pay for it without any financial help– no FAFSA, no grants, etc. It does not provide them with a path to citizenship. They would have to submit forms in order to prove they were applying for residency or citizenship.

The con’s to Tuition Equity is that there would be more enrollment of students who are not documented, which would be those of citizenship in this country won’t have the same chance of going to an Oregon State school if someone who is undocumented presents better academic achievements. The challenge of getting into a state public school would be higher, because now documented students would have to compete with more perspective students who might have a better academic report and can now attend a public institute. These would be the con’s that some people might argue about Tuition Equity.

In the House of Representatives hearing that I attended this past Friday, the Representatives in favor of Tuition Equity said if passed this would help Oregon’s economy because it is bringing more revenue, since these students would have to pay cash.

Those opposing the bill on Friday, proposed a modified bill, Minority Report. The bill proposed more options to the Tuition Equity bill, for example if someone resided outside of Oregon for more than 3 years after graduating high school, they could still qualify if they were on active duty for the armed services. The Minority Report required for each student to submit a copy of any application for legal status, residency, individual taxpayer identification and any forms for deportation process. They would be able to work part time to pay off their debt and save under the Minority Report, which could be seen as one of the biggest pro’s of minority report.

Representatives were able to give an opinion about why they thought Minority Report would be a better choice than Tuition Equity. The House Representatives behind Minority Report did not present the bill effectively because it was rejected.

Both sides gave their opinions on why they thought one bill was better than the other. So now with the facts I was able to provide, I hope you have a better understanding of Tuition Equity and how it could be beneficial or harmful to Oregon.

Now for those dreamers there is hope that Oregon Senate may not shut it down, but we will have to wait and see what they decide for the future of these undocumented students.

Taken by me at State Capital Feb. 22, 2013

Taken by me at State Capital Feb. 22, 2013


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