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Oregon Policy

Updated As Of: April 10, 2017

In April 2013, Oregon adopted a policy granting in-state tuition to undocumented students.
  • HB 2787 | Student Eligibility Requirements

    • Demonstrate three years of attendance at an Oregon primary and secondary school prior to receiving a high school diploma or equivalent;

    • Enroll in a public university in Oregon within three years of earning a high school diploma or equivalent in Oregon;

    • Shows intention to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident in the United States;

  • In 2005 and 2011 the Oregon State Senate introduced but failed to pass SB 769 and SB 742 both of which would have allowed undocumented students to receive in-state tuition.
  • On April 2, 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber signed HB 2787 into law. It granted in-state tuition to undocumented students. Oregon’s Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that this bill will increase the state’s revenue by $335,000 from 2013-2015, and by $1.58 million from 2015-2017.
  • In 2015, SB 932 was signed into law. Undocumented students who meet the criteria that is stated in HB 2787 are eligible for state financial aid and grants. 
  • In 1987, the Oregon legislature passed ORS 181.850, which prohibits local law enforcement officers from enforcing federal immigration laws targeting people based on race or ethnic origin.
  • Executive Order 07-22, signed in 2007 by Governor Ted Kulongoski, required proof of lawful presence when obtaining a driver’s license. SB 845 attempted to reverse the executive order in 2011 but failed to pass. In 2013, SB 833 successfully passed and would have extended driver's license eligibility to undocumented Oregonians; however, it was overturned by a ballot initiative in November 2014.
  • On April 4, 2013, the Board of County Commissioners for Multnomah County (which includes Portland) unanimously passed a resolution supporting the decision of the Sheriff's Office to only hold undocumented immigrants if they have been charged with a felony or Class A - Person Misdemeanor, or if an ICE affidavit details a non-immigration-related threat to public safety.  
  • The following bills (all of which were introduced in 2011 but failed to pass) were “Arizona-style” bills based largely on SB 1070:
    • HB 2802: Would have mandated that all public entities enforce federal immigration law.

    • HB 2803: Would have required every county to verify immigration status for persons incarcerated in county facilities.

    • HB 2805: Would have prohibited providing “employment, products, services or licenses” to undocumented immigrants.

    • HB 2806: Would have allowed businesses to receive federal tax deductions only for employees whose work eligibility was confirmed by the national E-Verify system. 

  • HB 2921 was introduced in 2017. If passed, it would prohibit cities and counties from enacting policies that would prohibit enforcement of federal or state immigration laws.
  • ACLU of Oregon: Provides outreach, litigation, and education to the general public on immigrant rights’ issues.
  • Causa: Coordinates local, state, and national coalitions to defend and advance immigrant rights.
  • Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice: Provide hospitality for immigrant families affected by immigration enforcement and are committed to immigration reform.

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.