(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — Gov. John Kitzhaber signed two bills Tuesday designed to help more low-income students achieve a higher education credential. Lawmakers passed both bills in the recent legislative session.

One bill asks state officials to study the feasibility of providing free community college classes to Oregon high school graduates.

The other bill sets aside $750,000 to help more students from low-income families. The money could also help students from families where they may be the first to attend community college.

Kitzhaber signed the bills at the Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus.

"Both of these bills underscore the importance of education to career pathways for young people. I think both of these bills reflect our values as Oregonians, and I think that many Oregonians will reap the benefits over the years ahead," he said.

The governor says these bills will help the state reach its education goal known as "40-40-20."

The state wants 40 percent of Oregonians to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, 40 percent to get an associate's degree or a credential and 20 percent to earn a high school diploma or equivalent -- all by 2025.

Editor's note: The bills are as follows: House Bill 4116 (the "Aspirations to College" bill) and Senate Bill 1524 (or known as the "Study of Free Community College").

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