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Legislation

B 553- The COFA/Refugee Equity Tuition Bill

B 553- The COFA/Refugee Equity Tuition bill will provide in-state tuition rates for all COFA
citizens and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) refugees in Oregon Higher Education Colleges and
Universities. It is estimated that it may impact 100 COFA students and 10 or fewer refugee
students. The bill will significantly increase the numbers of these students that reach their goal
of getting a bachelor’s degree or beyond. It is estimated that as low as 20% of those enrolled
will be able to graduate due to the burden of paying the out of state tuition premium. While
some are fortunate to receive financial aid from home, most simply have to drop out after a
year or two. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is currently working to
determine the funding mechanism for the bill such that the universities are held harmless for
the negative budgetary impacts. This is especially true for Eastern Oregon University (EOU) in
La Grande, Oregon which provides a unique multicultural program for COFA students. The
funding for this bill is included in the Governor’s budget.

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