Tuition Waiver Bill for Foster Youth Passes Oregon Legislature

Oregon has become the 17thstate to enact legislation granting college tuition waivers for foster children. The Oregon Senate voted 25-4 in favor of House Bill 3471, sending it to Gov. John Kitzhaber for consideration.

The bill is intended to increase access to postsecondary institutions for foster children. Under the Oregon legislation, participating students will be required to complete 30 hours of community service each year.

Senator Laurie Monnes was quoted in a published news report as saying the measure will help break the cycle of poverty and failure for many foster children. However, Sen. Doug Whitsett, one of the five senators voting against HB 3471, argued it did not include any academic requirements for receiving free tuition, such as having a minimum grade point average.

According to a published report in the Oregon Tribune, there are approximately 8,000 foster children in Oregon.

For a text of HB 3471, see http://www.leg.state.or.us/11reg/measures/hb3400.dir/hb3471.en.html.