More Oregon Insanity: OSU and In-State Tuition for U.S. Indian Tribal Members

In another episode of self-flagellation for past injustices by Oregon’s so-called institutions of higher learning, Oregon State University said on August 3 that enrolled members of all 574 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States will be eligible for in-state tuition at the school starting this fall. This will  include currently enrolled students, no matter where they live. 

OSU has a branding video on YouTube called “It’s Out There.” It sure is. Way out. while the school pleads with the legislature for more money and with alumni for more donations, concern about revenue goes out the window when it wants to do some virtue signaling.

When Portland State University initiated an identical policy on July 21, it told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) it was not aware of any other schools  in the United States that have also made the move to offer discounts to Native American students on a national scale. There’s probably a reason for that.

OSU’s action is by a school that increased tuition for the coming school year because of inflation and a decline in the amount of tuition it’s receiving from students, partially because of fewer international students. 

Continuing undergraduate students at OSU’s main campus in Corvallis will see about a $360 increase in annual in-state tuition and a $1,080 increase in out-of-state tuition, a 3.5% increase. New undergraduates starting at OSU this fall will pay about a $450 increase in annual in-state tuition and a $1,395 increase in out-of-state tuition, a 4.5% increase.

Continuing in-state students will pay $10,920 and out-of-state students $32,595, respectively next school year. New in-state undergraduates starting this fall will pay $11,010 and new out-of-state undergraduates $32,910.

It would be one thing, I suppose, if university leaders wanted to expiate their fathers’ sins by offering some benefits to tribal members in Oregon, but offering them to enrolled members of all 574 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States if surely going overboard.

Allowing enrolled members of all federally recognized Indian tribes to pay in-state tuition will mean a potentially significant revenue loss to OSU from each out-of-state tribal student enrolled. 

But, hey, who cares. OSU can pat itself on the back for what, according to Interim OSU President, Becky Johnson, is past “…displacement, hardship, familial and cultural disruption and destruction, and the denial of educational opportunities for many members of Tribal nations.”

 “This new tuition policy advances our commitment – in the spirit of self-reflection, learning, reconciliation and partnership – that the university will be of enduring benefit to Tribal nations and their citizens throughout Oregon and the country,” Johnson said.

As with the PSU program, this is nothing more than academician’s guilt run amok.

Expanding resident tuition benefits to out-of-state tribal members means foregone revenue for increased services. And despite the tendency of left-leaning idealists to see government benefits as free, Oregonians will have to cover the cost of this new non-resident benefit. 

It’s just more wrong-headed feel-good performative activism, at the expense of Oregon taxpayers.

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