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Letter to the Editor: Huffman believes

— Huffman believes

To the editor:

I want to thank our representative, John Huffman for being a chief sponsor of HB 2787 (Tuition Equity). This bill has much vocal opposition. Representative Huffman has gone out on a limb because he believes, as I do, that it is the right thing to do.

I would like to offer an excerpt from written testimony before the House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development made by Jeff Stone, Executive Director of Oregon Association of Nurseries. He said what I think but expresses it better than I can:

“Tuition equity has very real human, social and economic consequences. The OAN believes that access to educational attainment directly results in increased earnings. By providing in-state tuition we stand a greater chance of strengthening the state’s economy.

“The communities of the undocumented individuals in our state are consumers, pay taxes, work at restaurants, nurseries, dairies and a variety of jobs throughout the private sector economy. There are very real economic consequences to the economy of the state if we lose a workforce and serious impacts on the social and human side of equation by forcing bright minds, regardless of country of origin, to encounter barriers to education and success.

“The Oregonians who will benefit from HB 2787 already are part of the fabric of our communities. Their families work for local businesses, shop at our local grocery stores and attend our local public schools. President Barack Obama has already bestowed approval to children brought to the United States to be able to seek educational opportunity and Oregon should do its part.

“Tuition equity makes college attainable to undocumented children. Oregon needs to be a state where intellect and determination is the metric for success. It is important that the opponents and proponents of tuition equity understand that the bill does not provide free tuition to undocumented students. HB 2787 does not provide a discount over their Oregon peers or displace any qualified students. Moreover, passage of the bill will not result in awards of state or federal financial aid or subsidized loans.

Finally, passage of tuition equity does not guarantee admission to any Oregon university. What passage of this bill does is give a talented student an opportunity to improve their educational goals and be supportive of children who have only known Oregon as their home.”

Stephen L. Schafroth

The Dalles

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