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Oregon Lawmakers Consider Plan To Offer Free Community College Tuition

File photo of Tillamook Bay Community College in Tillamook, Ore.
M.O. Stevens
File photo of Tillamook Bay Community College in Tillamook, Ore.

Oregon lawmakers are considering what some may call an audacious plan: free community college for all of its state’s high school graduates.

A Senate committee Tuesday advanced a bill that would require the state to study the viability of the plan.

Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber testified in favor of the proposal. He says the increasing cost of college is putting higher education out of reach of many young adults.

"I think we need to take very bold steps in the next two to four years to make an affordable college education within reach of every Oregon high school graduate."

At least one other state, Tennessee, is looking at a similar plan.

In Oregon, the current measure would only study the proposal. How much it could cost at this point is anybody’s guess. Supporters say that it could be as much as upwards of $50 million to $100 million per year when it's fully rolled out.

The measure now heads to a vote on the Senate floor.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.