The Oregon Student Association is a unique organization. There is no other organized group (either in Oregon or in any state) that lobbies the state legislature on the interest of higher education at the direction of students. OSA is invited to participate in various policy development or workgroup meetings because decision makers respect and desire student input. As an example of OSA’s influence, some legislators would work on the introduction of new policies and changes in policies if and only if the Oregon Student Association were on board and involved in the policy development process. Don’t underestimate the power you have as students – we can effect great change in Oregon’s postsecondary institutions, and to accomplish this, we need to continue having a strong base. Member campuses of OSA have always believed that organizing is the best way to engage people impacted by our priority issues. When students recognize their power and ability, they are unstoppable! Lobbying is just one tool for students to use their voice to better the lives of themselves, communities, and students across the State.
OSA has accomplished incredible policy wins for students over the past few decades. OSA’s legislative arm dedicates a full-time staff position to advocating for student priorities in the state of Oregon. Through developing strong relationships with decisionmakers, higher education advocates, coalition partners, and legislators, OSA engages in both developing policy and advocating for students in the Capitol. We engage students in lobbying, testifying, and policy development efforts to advance student priorities and build students’ professional political experience. Check out our “Legislative Wins” tab on our website to learn more about our legislative advocacy.
2022 Projects in the Legislative Interim Session:
JTUSHE: Joint Taskforce on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education
Thanks to student advocacy, HB2590 (Student Voice Bill) was passed in 2021. 2590 established a Joint Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education. The task force is tasked with traveling across the state to hear directly from underrepresented students at public community colleges and universities. As of August 2022, the task force is breaking into work groups and develop legislation to address the concerns they heard about through legislation and new funding. OSA is actively participating in the task force process through supporting planning, organizing student engagement, and advocating for equitable student-centric policies. We are the student voice at the decision-making table, ensuring that underrepresented students are involved and centered in every step of the process. Through this work, students are advocating for increased funding for public higher education, financial aid, mentoring and counseling, and basic needs support, as well as building a more equitable and just post-secondary education system.
University Governance Workgroup
Roughly 10 years ago, Oregon transitioned from a centralized State Board of Higher Education governance model to a decentralized Board of Trustees system to govern public universities. Senator Dembrow is leading a workgroup to identify the effectiveness of the new governance structure and where there is room for improvement. OSA is participating in the workgroup to represent students and advocate for improved transparency, accountability, and representation on university board of trustees.
2022 Short Session Legislative Wins
Wins for Higher Education Students!
SB 1522: Omnibus Education Bill, PASSED!
Provides free menstrual products on public college and university campuses including in residence halls
Oregon Promise Reforms: Doubles minimum grant amount, removes $50 copay, reduces GPA requirement to 2.0
Tuition Equity for Refugees: Expands eligibility for in-state tuition to include individuals who are granted humanitarian parole, asylum, conditional permanent residency or temporary protected status by any federal agency.
Oregon Tribal Student Grant created! $19 million allocated to fund members of Oregon Native tribes in higher education. Grants will be distributed to eligible applicants to cover cost of attendance at public colleges and universities in Oregon!
Students turned out to advocate in support of coalition priority legislation including:
HB 4002: Farmworker Overtime Bill – PASSED!
SB 1543: Universal Legal Representation – PASSED!
SB 1510: Transforming Justice – PASSED!
SB 4133: Online Voter Registration Modernization: PASSED!
2021 Legislative Wins
HB2590 – Student Voice Bill – PASSED
Establishes Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education. Directs task force to develop student success policy and funding proposals focusing on increasing likelihood of student success in higher education for students from populations that are underrepresented in higher education enrollment
HB2835 – Basic Needs Navigators – PASSED
Requires each community college and public university to hire benefits navigator to assist students in determining eligibility and applying for federal, state, and local benefits programs.
HB 2919 – Textbook On Time Adoption – PASSED
Relating to disclosure of costs to enroll in classes at public institutions of higher education.
HB2542 – Mandatory Fee Transparency – PASSED’
Relating to disclosure of mandatory fees at public institutions of higher education
HB3012 – Student Fee Autonomy – PASSED
Limits ability of public university to refuse new mandatory incidental fees or process for collecting mandatory incidental fees
SB712 – HECC Voting Rights – PASSED
Alters commissioner composition of Higher Education Coordinating Commission by redesignating five current nonvoting positions as voting positions and by adding one additional position for graduate student attending public university.
OSA advocated for $290 million to the Oregon Opportunity Grant We secured a $25 million increase from past biennium funding, totaling $196 million for the 21-23 biennium
OSA advocated for $900 million to the Public University Support Fund. The legislature fully funded the 7 Oregon universities at $900 million, which will protect students from any tuition increase above 5%
OSA advocated for $702 million Community College Support Fund. We achieved full funding for community colleges at $702 million, ensuring no tuition increases above 5% statewide
OSA has been fighting for the interests students in Oregon for decades. Here is a selected list of some (but not all) of the legislative victories students have been able to accomplish
2019 Legislative Adopted Budget:
Public University Support Fund: $836,898,583, this is an increase of $100 million
from 2017-2019. + a budget note: Public University Financial Transparency The seven
Public Universities shall collectively report to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means
in February 2020 on cost management measures implemented during the 2019-20
Community College Support Fund: $640,926,933, this increased by
$50,000,000 from 2017-2019
Oregon Opportunity Grant: increased by $12,500,000, which will grant an
additional 2,500 grants.
Open Educational Resources: continued funding at $669,200. OERs
received one-time funding 2017-19 and its funding is continued for this biennium. For
the 2017-2018 year this program saved students statewide an estimated $3 Million. More info here:
HB 2213 – Textbook Affordability Plan PASSED
• • Mandates that community colleges and universities put in place a textbook
SB 859 – Tuition Equity 4.0 for graduate students – PASSED
• • Clarifies that graduate students who meet the requirements of tuition equity
qualify for in-state tuition.
SB 854 – Professional Licensing – PASSED
• • Allows licensing boards to accept Individual Tax Identification Numbers in lieu
of a Social Security Number
SB 576 – Kaylee’s Law – PASSED
• • Puts limitations on campus public safety uniforms and puts restrictions on the
appearance of vehicles. This bill also removes their stop and frisk authority
Senate Bill 1557 – Military Student Support Reform- PASSED
• •Requires community colleges, public universities and Oregon Health and Science
University to provide certain rights to students ordered to federal or state active duty for
30 or fewer consecutive days.
House Bill 4141 – Student Voice and Transparency Act-PASSED
• •Requires each public university to establish advisory body to advise university president
on recommendations to governing board regarding resident tuition and mandatory
Senate Bill 1528 – HECC Tax Credit Auction-PASSED
• •Creates tax credit for contributions to Opportunity Grant Fund.
House Bill 4043 – Community College Financial Aid Advising-PASSED
• •Requires community colleges to jointly conduct study to determine best methods for
helping community college students learn about and apply for benefits
House Bill 4028 – Student Parent Childcare Tax Credit-PASSED
• •Limits expenses for which dependent care income tax credit may be claimed to
combination of earned income taxable by Oregon and imputed income, using lesser
amount attributable to either spouse on joint return.
SB 762 – Survivor Amnesty PASSED
• • Exempts sexual assault victims and persons assisting sexual assault victims
from arrest or prosecution for offense related to purchase or possession of alcoholic
beverage by person under 21 years of age if evidence of offense was obtained because
of contact with law enforcement agency or emergency medical services to report
assault or obtain assistance.
SB 231- Mental Health & Neurodivergency Research PASSED
• • Establishes Task Force on Student Mental Health Support. In 2017, Oregon
state legislature enacted Senate Bill 231 which was charged with investigating the
extent to which mental health and substance use disorders have an impact on the
education mission set forth in ORS 350.014 (i.e., Oregon educational goal of 40 percent
4-year college graduates, 40 percent 2-year college graduates, and 20 percent high
HB 2845 – Ethnic Studies Standards PASSED
• •Directs Department of Education to convene advisory group to develop
statewide ethnic studies standards for adoption into existing statewide social studies
standards for public kindergarten through grade 12
HB 2864 – Cultural Competency PASSED
• • Requires each community college and public university to establish process
for recommending, and providing oversight for implementation of, cultural competency
standards for institution and institution’s employees.
HB 2355 – End Profiling PASSED (Coalition with Unite Oregon and Fair Shot Coalition)
• • Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for
recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops. Also trains
mandates cultural competency trainings of all Oregon law enforcement officers and
reduces drug felonies to misdemeanor for the first 2 offenses.
HB 2673 –Gender Documentation PASSED
• • Creates alternative process for persons seeking to change name on vital
record for purpose of affirming gender identity.
SB 932- expanded access to the Oregon Opportunity Grant.
SB 759- Required public universities, community colleges and Oregon-based private
universities and colleges to adopt written protocol for victims of sexual assault.
HB 2177- New Motor Voter (Coalition with NextUp and other partners)
Made it easier to register to vote or update your voter
registration in Oregon through coordination with the DMV. This helps students and
student governments because college students are a high-risk population for losing
voter reg status due to frequent moving and scheduling issues.
Tuition Equity- PASSED
Ensures access to in state tuition for undocumented Oregon students meeting certain criteria