I am an undergraduate student at Pacific University and am writing in support of the Tuition Equity Bill (House Bill 2787) that is currently being considered by the Oregon Legislature. This bill will allow undocumented students, who are otherwise residents of Oregon, to pay in-state tuition rather than international or out-of-state tuition, that is roughly three times higher.

At the University of Oregon, this means that undocumented students would be able to pay $37,000 instead of $115,000 over four years. This bill is not a hand-out; these students must meet the same academic requirements and will still have to pay in-state tuition (without the help of state or federal financial aid). These students are residents of our state and to discriminate against them on the basis of their parent’s choices, or the lack of a piece of paper, is to violate their human rights. According to the United Nations, “education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights.”

By depriving these students of the ability to pursue an undergraduate degree, a degree which is now required for many jobs, we are also depriving them of the opportunity to support a family, afford adequate housing and medical care, and to pursue the American dream. I support tuition equity because these students are fellow Americans and Oregonians. Fourteen other states, including Washington, California and Texas, have already passed similar legislation to remove this discriminatory practice from public universities. This bill has already passed the House, and I hope others in Forest Grove join me in urging the Senate to do the same. Robbing these youths of their futures and wasting their potential by denying them the opportunity to learn hurts all of us in the end.

Jessica Kline

Forest Grove

Contract Publishing

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