President Schill proposes $945 per year tuition increase + $150 tech fee

An excerpt from Pres Schill’s letter:

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. [UOM: Thanks in part to the generosity of Trustee Connie Ballmer.]
We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important
efforts.

TFAB report here: http://ir.uoregon.edu/sites/ir.uoregon.edu/files/TFAB_Memo_2-9-17.pdf. They are reporting the following cost increases:

Despite that $11M salary increase – a good chunk of which goes to upper administrators – UO faculty pay is getting worse, relative to our comparators:

For 2015-16, UO Assistant profs averaged 94% of AAU public university salaries, Associates 95%, Fulls 87%. That’s down from 95%, 98%, and 89% the year before. So UO is not going to be able to maintain “excellence” without more money.

No differential tuition for B-School this year, and the in-state tuition increases will be bought down if the legislature coughs up more money:

Full text of the letter:

To University of Oregon community members,

Pursuant to university policy, the provost and I have received the recommendations of
the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB), a body containing students,
administrators, and members of the faculty and staff. Among the recommendations is an
increase in tuition of $21 per credit hour—or $945 per year—for in-state undergraduate
students. The TFAB recommends the same increase for out-of-state undergraduates
students of $21 per credit hour, or $945 annually. For the 2017–18 academic year, this
equates to a 10.6 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for in-state students and a 3
percent increase for out-of-state students. The TFAB also recommended various tuition
increases for graduate tuition and a new technology fee of $50 per term.

I regret that I have little choice but to accept the TFAB recommendations on tuition and
fees for next year. Pursuant to university policy, I am posting the TFAB
recommendations together with this memorandum for public comment. After receiving
public input, I will forward my final tuition recommendation to the UO Board of
Trustees for consideration at its next regular meeting on March 2–3.

I wish it were not necessary for us to increase tuition by these significant amounts.
Although the vast majority of our lowest-income students will be spared from this
increase by the PathwayOregon scholarship program, for some students a $945 increase
will make attending the UO difficult or impossible. Yet the state’s fiscal problems leave
us no choice. Oregon’s disinvestment in higher education over more than two decades
has shifted the burden of paying for college from the state to our students and families.
In 2015, the state made some positive moves toward addressing this trend with an
increase in funding, which was greatly appreciated. The governor’s recommended
budget, however, keeping funding flat over the next biennium in the face of rapidly
rising costs, returns us to the previous status quo of disinvestment.

Only four other states in the nation provide less funding per student for higher
education than Oregon. That is simply unacceptable. Public universities in Oregon have
calculated that it would take at least an additional $100 million in state support for
public higher education to preserve core student services and financial aid. If we
received this amount we would voluntarily limit tuition increases to about 5 percent.
Flat funding may not sound like a reduction, but the university is forecasting very large
cost increases over the next couple of years—largely created by salary increases from
collective bargaining agreements and unfunded retirement costs. These increased costs
amount to roughly $25 million.

Even with the substantial tuition increases recommended by the TFAB, the university
will still need to close an $8.8 million recurring gap in our budget for next year. We
have already begun a process, aided by faculty members, administrators, and students,
to identify how we can create new revenue streams and/or cut expenses. Roughly 80
percent of our educational budget pays the salaries of our faculty, staff, and
administrators. Therefore, any efforts to cut the budget will inevitably lead to a loss of
jobs and pain to our community.

As we move forward, we will strive to protect the academic and research programs of
the university. Our goal will be to continue and accelerate the progress we have seen
over the past couple of years in enhancing excellence in teaching and research,
including investments in faculty hiring, research infrastructure, and support for student
access and success programs. Budget challenges will make this harder and may require
difficult choices, but we cannot and will not take our eyes off the pursuit of excellence
in all that we do at the UO.

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important
efforts.

It is my hope that we can still avoid raising tuition by more than 10 percent and
reducing our budget through layoffs and attrition. I call on all of our constituents—
students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends—to join me in requesting that
the legislature and governor prioritize higher education and stop shifting the cost of
educating our future workforce to our students and their families. Over the next several
months I will be in Salem urging our lawmakers to remember that the future of our state
is being shaped in places like Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland. Please join me in that
effort.

If, collectively, we are successful, we can reduce the tuition increase. The TFAB
recommendation estimates that each $20 million increment in increased state funding
for public higher education would allow the UO to reduce the proposed resident
undergraduate tuition increase by roughly 1 percentage point. The full $100 million in
state support for higher education would result in a 5.1 percent recommended tuition increase
at the UO. Increases of state support would also reduce the operating cuts that
would be needed in the coming year. This would significantly help our students, their
families, and our employees.

Ultimately, we likely will not know how state funding for higher education will shake
out until June or July of this year, which is when state lawmakers historically approve
the budget for the next biennium. I will continue to keep the UO campus community
abreast of changes to our budget situation and the potential impact on the UO campus
as information becomes available.

I invite you to comment on the tuition proposal prior to my making a final
recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees. Please provide input using this form by
5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 17, 2017.

Thank you.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

RG calls on UO to control “appearance of administrative bloat” and limit tuition increases

Today’s editorial here:

… A visible effort by the UO to bring costs under tighter control, however, would influence lawmakers and donors alike. Such an effort could begin by restraining both the number and the salaries of university administrators, which have expanded in tandem over the past decade. No potential supporter of the university, public or private, is pleased by the appearance of administrative bloat. If the UO can project an image of operational efficiency, and can show itself to be focused above all on its classrooms and laboratories, arguments for increased state funding and donor support will become more compelling. …

I’m all for cutting bloat, such as the large buy-outs we’ve been giving incompetent administrators, and while it would be simple to get $10M or so out of the bloated Duck athletic empire, (cut baseball, softball, golf, tennis) the RG has it wrong on the tuition increases.

The focus on the tuition list price is simplistic and the RG editors really should know better than this. UO should be *increasing* the tuition list price, and use the money to increase the discounts that it offers to good low and middle income students. We’ve done this for the lowest income students with PathwayOregon – partly supported with generous donations from UO Trustee Connie Ballmer. Raising tuition would allow increasing the income limit for that program.

Tuition increases can also fund programs to encourage quicker graduation and decrease the dropout rate – as President Schill has already started. Both these projects have the potential to cut the cost of college graduation by far more than tuition limits will do.

A 4-year college degree is an extraordinarily good investment for students. UO’s focus should be on increasing access to those degrees and improving their value, and tuition limits are not a sensible way to do either.

One extra year of college costs students more than a 100% tuition increase

Updated with a letter in the ODE from a variety of student groups raising questions about the administration’s seriousness in consulting them about the tuition increases, here:

University of Oregon campus community,

On Jan. 4, a new term began for most students at the UO, and with that began another round of weekly talks about tuition with the Tuition & Fees Advisory Board. This board is comprised primarily of administrators and faculty, with two students appointed by students and two students appointed by the administration. At the start of the term, guaranteed tuition was off the table for 2016-2017, and administrators presented an increase of 4.7 percent for in-state students and 4.46 percent for out-of-state students. Over the course of the year, if a student were to take an average of 15 credits per term — the required amount for graduation in four years — than this would amount to an increase of about $484 for in-state students and $1,428 for out-of state students per year. Factor in the duration of loan payment and interest rates, and students will be paying this increase back for many years to come.

The student representatives, including the ASUO President Helena Schlegel, opposed this increase and looked forward to negotiating ways to adjust the budget in order to reduce the proposed tuition and fee increases. During the week of Jan. 25, the student participants left the meeting a few minutes early in order to make it to class. The rest of the group came to a consensus about the 4.7 percent increase after the student representatives left.

Both student-nominated representatives were informed on Monday, Feb. 1 that this decision had been made, as well as that all remaining TFAB meetings for the year would be canceled as they were no longer deemed necessary. …

2/7/2016: In response to popular demand I’m posting some info about the tuition increase debate.

The feds make UO post this cost of attendance information:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.34.43 PM

But these numbers ignore the biggest component of college costs: the wages students give up by not working. Even for the lowest earning group of college majors – Humanities – the median starting salary was $36,237 last year, according to the NACE:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.47.40 PM

So when a student takes 5 instead of 4 years to graduate, it costs them more than would a 100% increase in UO’s out-of-state tuition, or a 300% increase in in-state tuition.

This is the argument Mike Schill made to the Eugene City Club on Friday: let’s make UO cheaper by getting students graduated more quickly, rather than fighting over a 4.7% tuition increase. KVAL has video, here:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 9.04.41 PM

Last year UO’s students shut down the Trustees meeting with a demonstration over tuition increases. Lillis and Coltrane looked like deer in the headlights. But this year we’ve got a President who is talking sense.

Will the students listen, or demonstrate and shut down the March 3-4 Trustee’s meeting too? Here’s the Daily Emerald’s report, more here. It turns out our students are talking sense too:

Schlegel demanded “The Three Asks,” including a 3.5 percent tuition increase for both resident and non-resident students, University’s support for the corporate tax measure and funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

The “corporate tax measure” is the Better Oregon ballot initiative for a 2.5% tax on corporate sales, which would apparently increase state tax revenue by 25%. The legislature is considering a watered down version, which would still lead to significant increases in state revenue and the likelihood of more state higher education funding.

So surely this legislation is a priority for the UO Board of Trustees? Nope, not even on their list. The only tax increase that UO’s Board of Trustees want is a 1 percentage point increase in the hotel tax, to subsidize a track meet:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.17.11 PM

So it should be an interesting Board meeting.

Strategic Planning Workshop, happening now, 12PM EMU Ballroom

2/17/2015:

Workshop 1: Tuesday, February 17, 12:00 to 2:00pm in the EMU Ballroom

Focus on: Attracting high quality, diverse students and promote student access, retention, and success; Attracting and retaining high quality, diverse faculty and staff; and Enhancing physical and IT infrastructure to ensure academic excellence.

2/17/2015:  Students not impressed with Brad Shelton’s “patronizing” TFAB presentation:

Francesca Fontana has the story in the ODE, here:

… These changes would raise the cost of a student’s credit hour by $7 for residents and $24 for nonresidents. In 2015-2016, the cost of attending UO full-time (45 credits a year) would increase by $315 for residents and $1,080 for nonresidents.

Shelton explained that there would be two increases in costs mandated by the state: a $3.5 million increase in retirement costs and $2.5 million increase health care for employees.

Many students were displeased with the proposed tuition raise. Some held signs that read the salaries for various members of the administration.

One read, “President, $440,004.”

One student in the crowd proposed lowering those salaries, saying that the president of the university earns a higher salary than the president of the Unites States. Barack Obama earns $400,000 per year for his work as commander-in-chief.

Some called for a tuition freeze. Others asked how many tuition dollars paid for lawyer’s fees duringGTFF bargaining or the UO’s pending sexual assault litigation.

Shelton did not present any information on 2014-2015 expenditures. Instead, he directed students to find them online.

2/16/2015: Shelton and Moffitt to propose 3-5% tuition increases, Monday at 2PM:

We’ve obtained a preview of Brad Shelton’s presentation:

Shelton and Moffitt  really don’t want anyone to see the budget information they are using to come up with these proposals:

11/07/2014

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”,on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28.

TFAB Announcement:

Dear students, parents, professors, and community members.

Monday at 2pm is the time to shine. The tuition and fees advisory board will present its suggestions for tuition and fees increases for the upcoming school year. It is your moment to make your voice heard.The meeting takes place at Lawrence 115 (UO campus). 

Spoiler Alert! They’ll propose increases between 3-5%. And they will say a lot of things about labor costs, retirement and how students need to pay for all of this :)

This is why it is very important that you take your thine this Monday and come to this meeting. We need to pack this room. Bring your homework, your grading, a late lunch or an even later breakfast, your arts and crafts projects, but please come! 

This is a great opportunity actually let administrators know how you feel about their spending priorities!!! Take your frustration off the internetzzz and bring it to the meeting. Ask critical questions and voice your concerns. 

Frances Bronet will be there, so will Brad Shelton, Robin Holmes and Jim Brooks.

We are counting on you! 

Here is a link to our Facebook event by SLAP: https://www.facebook.com/events/449959515151966/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

In order to prepare for this meeting…

A.) SLAP is tabling tomorrow from 10-4 at the EMU Amphitheater. They are still looking for volunteers. Please come by and help our!

B.) A student group coalition (ASUO representatives, SLAPers and LESST activists) is meeting at 3pm in the Alsea room (EMU) across from Panda Express – we will work on talking points for the meeting on Monday

C.) SLAP is hosting a work and sign making party this Sunday at 2pm at the ROAR center, please contact colin.worley1@gmail.com for more information

If you have more questions, please contact judithheidilechner@gmail.com

All the best, Judith

Good news for UO: UC system raises tuition

11/20/2014 update: The Chronicle has the story here.

Increased UC tuition and CA living costs will make UO more attractive for Californians. Couple this with the flat or declining Eugene rental rates, driven by the recent boom in city subsidized student apartment buildings and UO will be able to increase out-of-state tuition substantially. And, as explained below, this (and Connie Ballmer’s recent $25M donation for Pathways) will allow UO to increase the “discount rate” it offers to low SES and high ability students.

12/6/2014: UO’s efforts at (price) discrimination praised by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Continue reading

Hubin wants $475 to release Shelton and Moffitt’s tuition increase docs

UO’s Tuition and Fee Advisory Board has been meeting to develop new tuition and fee proposals to take to the UO Board of Governors (sic) for 2015-16. In March, the UO Board of Trustees relied on the TFAB when making its recommendation on tuition to for 2014-15 to the Oregon legislature, according to this email from Gottfredson:

Tuition and Fees
The trustees unanimously approved a recommendation of no tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students, supported by the legislatively approved tuition buy down. The board did recommend other tuition and fee increases. Prior to the trustees’ action, the tuition proposal was reviewed publicly in the Finance and Facilities Committee and by theTuition and Fee Advisory Board. The trustees are required by law to submit tuition and fee proposals to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) by April 4. The timing of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board recommendation and deadlines of the SBHE, HECC and legislative budgeting requirements, unfortunately, necessitated that the trustees meet during spring break to review the proposals, a schedule which the board hopes to avoid in the future.

This seems like an important matter for a public university to be transparent about.  The TFAB’s website is here:

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 4.53.31 PM

So, let’s get some of the documents they’ve been using at these meetings out to the public: Seems like a simple enough public records request.

Subject: public records request, Tuition and Fee Advisory Board
Date: October 31, 2014 at 4:50:19 PM PDT
Cc: jmoffitt@uoregon.edu, Brad Shelton <shelton@uoregon.edu>
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed (sic) Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I’m ccing the co-chairs of the board, as they should have this material easily at hand.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics

But no response from VPFA Moffitt or VPR Brad Shelton. A week later, President Coltrane’s Public Records sends me this:

11/07/2014

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”, on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver.

… Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Not exactly the sort of transparency I’ve been hoping for from Coltrane.

UO’s "Cadillac administrative costs"

6/24/2013: Or maybe the preferred nomenclature should be “BMW administrative costs”. Thanks to a reader for the link. More here, this data is from IPEDS and does not count the last year or two of new UO administrative excesses. The last column gives “Institutional support” per student FTE. That is the IPEDS category for central administrative costs.

Trimming UO’s bloated central administration down to OSU levels would save UO 24,000 x $770 = $18.5 million per year, recurring.

And I wonder if we’re counting the $1.83M athlete-only Jaqua tutoring costs under “Academic support”?

More good UO financial news

6/24/2013: Diane Dietz of the RG had a good story on the Eugene student rental market last year, suggesting overbuilding and falling rents for students. (I’d linked to a plagiarized version of this story earlier. Sorry!)

6/23/2013: It’s an open question as to how necessary they were, but the city of Eugene has offered a variety of subsidies for large student-type apartment buildings, around campus and downtown. The 2400 student downtown Capstone project is the big example, but other, smaller projects have added at least as much capacity.

According to Zillow, (click to see their most excellent Eugene data) rents in Eugene are well below the levels in our competitor college towns such as Boulder, Seattle, Phoenix, and LA. In contrast to hose towns, the increase in the supply has kept rents level in Eugene, despite the increase in the number of students. The new construction coming on line this fall may well lead to rent decreases.

Because parents look at the total cost of attendance, this means that UO has plenty of room to continue tuition increases, while staying competitive in the market for out-of-state students.

US Zillow Rent Index

OUS board give UO cops guns, raises UO student’s tuition to pay for them.

6/22/2013: Two stories from Eder Campuzano in the ODE: GunsTuition. How much will the conversion to an armed UOPD cost overall? Frances Dyke told the legislature it would be something like $66K. At one point she told the students and faculty it would save $76K.

Jamie Moffitt won’t explain what happened – she walked out of the meeting where I tried to get an answer – but my quesstimate is closer to $1-$2 million a year in new costs, recurring. The lesson? Never believe the numbers that come out of the VPFA’s office.

In utterly unrelated news, VP for enrollment Roger Thompson has an op-ed in the RG on UO’s efforts to keep college affordable.

Oregon Commentator hears Bean on tuition increases

3/16/2013: What is Jim Bean going to do to justify his last 16 months of feeding at the Johnson Hall sugar tit, at $27K a month? It seems to involve badly organized efforts to try and lobby students to support tuition increases. Nick Ekblad of the OC has the scoop:

Tuition increase as proposed by Jim Bean and Brad Shelton

March 15th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad

I received this email today at 12:35pm, opened it around 2pm and hopped over to the meeting in question:

Just a reminder of the meeting TODAY in Jacqua Auditorium.
“Students are invited to attend a meeting with University Administration to discuss tuition proposals for the 2013-2014 academic year. The meeting is set for Friday, March 15 from 2:00-3:00pm in the Jacqua Center Auditorium. Students are also welcome to provide written feedback anytime before 5:00pm on Monday, March 18th by sending it to VPSA@uoregon.edu.”

Here are my notes:

I thought it was particularly funny that they hosted this in the Jock Box. The projected utility cost per year of the University of Oregon is 18 million dollars and going up one million every year. I chuckled to myself and then the wall behind all those bunched up letters changed colors.  … And finally, the quote of the day, Jim Bean says, “If people cared about education as much as they cared about prisons in this state, legislators would lobby for it.”

James Madison, 1822: "The Tuition is Too Damn High"

I don’t think I know any of them, but congratulations to the “The Tuition is Too Damn High” students. The ODE story on their meeting with Bob Berdahl and Jamie Moffitt here. The RG story is here. It sounds like they asked some informed, tough questions – some of which came from this blog. The statement at the top of this blog is from a letter by James Madison to a Kentucky legislator, congratulating him on that state’s subsidies of higher education:

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. …

Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information every where possesses….

 A system comprizing the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.

I don’t know what kind of run-around our students got from Berdahl and Moffitt, but if it’s anything like the one Moffitt gave the IAC last year, I suggest they keep digging. And for the sake of UO, I hope Moffitt stops – that athletics hole is deep enough already. 6/8/2012.

The Tuition is Too Damn High

The ODE has the story, with video:

Most of the staff and administrators had cleared out prior to students entering except for President Berdahl himself and a few of his staff. Berdahl spoke with students on why tuition increases needed to be implemented as well as other issues surrounding state funding. Berdahl was successful at easing student frustration by agreeing to a meeting. Berdahl said he would meet with a group of 12-15 students Thursday as long as “it doesn’t turn into a shouting match,” he said.

… “An institutional board that cares about this institution and is committed to this institution and works with the administration, will inspire the confidence of donors about the commitment to excellence this institution has,” Berdahl said. “If we can build our endowment so that there is a lot more financial aid available, and a central part of any capital campaign we have going forward is to raise scholarships.”

I’d have a lot more confidence in the idea of an independent board if the UO Foundation, the closest current equivalent, had a better track record on scholarships and transparency. BTW, The Faculty Pay is Too Damn Low. 6/6/2012.

Yes, tuition to increase

Update: 6/1/2012: Colton Totland reports in the RG that OUS has figured out how to pay for Provost Bean’s beamer and sabbatical, and Pernsteiner’s mortgage too. Still no plan from UO to increase faculty hiring or build new classrooms. Pathetic.

5/30/2012: The ODE reports:

The University will submit it’s proposal for a 6.1 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates amounting to $459 hike from the 2011-12 academic year. Non-resident undergraduate rates are proposed to raise by only 3.6 percent, but due to a higher base number, the dollar amount is larger landing at a $945 hike on an already expensive $27,653. 

In totally unrelated news BMW announced price increases last month. The costs of taking your family to away games has also shot up, and maid service on an 8,200 sq ft house is never cheap.

Bill Graves has more in the Oregonian, including some tricky stuff on student health insurance fees at PSU. ODE editorial here.

effective giving

9/16/2011: From the RG. This is a very smart gift:

A University of Oregon graduate is donating $5 million to provide scholarships to a group that she says is often overlooked — the children of middle class families.

“I wanted to help Oregonians caught in the middle,” alumna and longtime donor Mary Corrigan Solari said in a written statement. “I have been acutely aware of the many middle class parents who have been struggling to finance their children’s education.”

The Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarships will be for $5,000 a year, renewable for a maximum of four years. UO undergraduate resident tuition and fees amount to $8,190 this year.

Why not give it to low income students? It’s very hard to give college money to low income students. More precisely, if you give them money the federal government reduces their Pell grants, pretty much dollar for dollar.

There are plenty of middle class kids who are not eligible for the maximum Pell, but who still need help paying for college – the threshold for maximum Pell was ~$40,000 family income, last I looked.

A $5 million endowment means about $200,000 a year, or about 80 of these $5,000 scholarships. (See comments.) Big money. More smart Oregon students will choose to come to UO.