Last week, the Governor released the Governor’s Recommended Budget (GRB) for the 2021-2023 biennium. The GRB is only a recommendation; the Legislature will be tasked with the difficult work of arriving at a final budget for the biennium. Nevertheless, the GRB gives us some insight into the likely funding levels of important social services, including higher education. AAUP Oregon joins our Higher Education Coalition partners in applauding the Governor for recommending $10M in funding to provide subsidized health insurance benefits to part-time faculty. AAUP Oregon has worked for several years to pass legislation that would extend access to affordable health insurance to faculty who work more than half-time when they pool hours across institutions. The Governor’s recommendation that this be funded is clear evidence that this necessary legislation is gaining momentum for passage! We were also happy to see the Governor recommend new investments in financial aid and programs enhancing success for underserved students. Although the GRB matches the 2019-21 legislatively-approved budgets for the Community College Support Fund (CCSF) and Public University Support Fund (PUSF), we worry that not accounting for actual inflation could result in major tuition hikes and/or faculty and staff layoffs if allocations are not increased by the Legislature.
AAUP Oregon members will have our work cut out for us this Legislative Session. We will work to impress upon legislators the importance of investing in higher education as both a public good and a vehicle for economic recovery. We will also fight to make sure that the Governor’s recommendation to fund part-time faculty health insurance finally becomes a reality.
AAUP Oregon President