Out-of-state tuition dollars are saving the Oregon University System from financial strains and keeping tuition hikes lower here than in neighboring states. Since 2006, the non-Oregon student population has grown by 49% and Californian attendance has increased by 76%. This influx has become a vital subsidy for public universities, replacing vanishing Oregon general fund dollars.
“With Californians, the budget increases because they pay three times more. For every out-of-state student we are able to pay for two more Oregon students to come to school,” Diane Saunders, OUS director of communications, said. “Campuses don’t have to raise tuition to the same level” to offset general fund higher education budget cuts.
As California's budget and political problems are so intractable, it appears this is a trend that will continue for some time. But there is a point at which the state is really going to have to decide to either fund universities of give up on the idea of public higher ed for Oregonians.