March 16, 2001

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714

Higher Ed Officials Praise Governor's Partial Restoration

PORTLAND - Higher education officials quickly applauded Governor John Kitzhaber's efforts to partially restore funding for state university students in his revised budget announced Friday.

"We are appreciative of the Governor's decision to increase his recommendation for the budget model and statewide services," said Don VanLuvanee, board president, following a State Board of Higher Education committee meeting here. "The adjustments recognize our board's top restoration priority for opportunity in higher education and will help to maintain educational and service quality for students throughout our seven campuses,"

"This reaffirms the path we're on with the new student-centered approach to budgeting," he said, noting that the Governor's action is a critical step toward filling a pending $96 million shortfall in the 2001-2003 higher education biennial budget.

Oregon University System Chancellor Joe Cox and all of the state's public university presidents were unanimous in their support for the Governor's rebalanced plan.

"What's really encouraging is the bipartisan support that the Governor and Legislative leaders have expressed for public higher education in Oregon," Cox said. "We appreciate their efforts on behalf of all our students and all Oregonians."

"The Governor shares our vision for access for Oregonians," said Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon president. "I hope this commitment to restoring our budget is just a beginning."

"Opportunity for Oregon students is our first goal and the Governor's rebalance proposal matches it exactly," added Dan Bernstine, president of Portland State University. "I hope the remaining holes in our continuing service level budget will be addressed next."

The presidents of Eastern and Western Oregon universities and the Oregon Institute of Technology added emphasis on the importance of the new budget message for students and the economy. "The rebalanced budget recognizes the fundamental need to support students enrolled and those who are planning to enroll on our campuses," said EOU President Phil Creighton.

"The action sends an especially important message to Oregonians who are planning to enroll at our campuses for the first time next fall," noted WOU President Betty Youngblood. "It says higher education is a priority for the state and the stability of our university programs is important to Oregonians."

"Supporting the core mission of technology programs is also an important investment in our state's economy," said OIT President Martha Anne Dow.

"I'm greatly encouraged by the Governor's partial restoration of the Statewide Public Service budgets," said Oregon State President Paul Risser. "Our research and service missions will be less affected if the Governor's recommendation is strongly supported and further enhanced by the Legislature."

"Many challenges remain in the OUS budget, but this is an excellent step toward full restoration of the current budget," said Sara Hopkins-Powell, interim president at Southern Oregon University.


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