Dear %TITLE% %LAST%, Co-Chairs Steiner and Sanchez, President Wagner, and Speaker Rayfield
Thank you for your efforts in developing an education budget for the State that supports students at Oregon’s colleges and universities. Your leadership in supporting students throughout the 2023 Legislative Session is much appreciated.
While this budget is quite generous and much needed, there are additional immediate needs that have been prioritized by students that cannot go unfunded. I urge you to please add the funding requests from HB 3089 and HB 3121 to the end-of-session omnibus bill.
HB 3089, the Hunger Free Campuses Bill, was proposed as a $5 million one-time ask. This funding was intended to further support Oregon’s Benefits Navigators in growing basic needs programs and services such as food pantries, housing assistance, clothing centers, public benefits enrollment, and other innovations and infrastructure. While this level of investment would have the highest impact, this investment is scalable.
HB 3121 would provide funding for affordable textbooks for students and is an essential component of a comprehensive statewide affordability strategy. HB 3121 would appropriate $4.5 million CSL for the statewide textbook affordability program, in alignment with the recommendation of the Joint Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education. This investment is also scalable; different levels of investment would result in different student savings impacts.
Both of these policies have had significant bipartisan and bicameral support. These investments are timely and high-impact, and I hope students will have your support to move these requests forward in the end-of-session omnibus bill.
Thank you for your time and attention.
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