Bill to study free community college moves to Governor's desk

, Written by Kassi Nelson, Posted: Thu, February 27 2014 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Thu, February 27 2014 at 6:47 PM

Medford, Ore. -- A bill that could eventually lead to free tuition at Oregon's community colleges is on it's way to Governor Kitzhaber's desk.

Senate bill 1524 would allow the Oregon Higher Education Commission to study the possibility of two years of free community college for Oregon high school graduates.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the house and senate Tuesday. If the bill is passed the commission will study how many students they'd need to cover and how much it would cost.

The state said it hopes to make a stronger workforce for Oregon.

Most Rogue Community College students in Medford said they think the bill is a great idea.

Tony Nordheim is a senior at RCC. He said the thought of paying off his student debt after graduation is overwhelming.

"I'm going to be more in debt when I'm done than I'm going to make in the five or six years that I'm out in the workforce," Nordheim said.

Whitney Weems said she thinks it's a fantastic opportunity to give people a shot at a higher education, but she is a little skeptical.

"The big question is where is the money going to come from and how is it going to be subsidized," Weems said.

Chris Maples, President of Oregon Tech, said he is on board.

"In the long run the more people we can get into the community college and college system the better off we are," Maples said.

The state hopes this bill would alleviate the impact the student loan crisis has on the economy not only locally but all over the nation.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Kassi Nelson

NBC5 News reporter Kassi Nelson was born and raised in Nebraska. She graduated from the journalism school at University of Nebraska Lincoln where she studied broadcasting.

She also studied philosophy in the Czech Republic. Kassi has visited nine other countries including Sochi, Russia, where she reported on the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games.

She loves skiing and live concerts!

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