President Thomas Hochstettler appeared before the Oregon Education and General Government Committee of the State Senate on March 25, 2009, in support of increased grant aid for low-income students. Senate Bill 478 proposes an increase in the amount of individual Oregon Opportunity Grants offered to lower income Oregonians to defray the cost of attending college. This funding is an important element of Lewis & Clark’s need-based financial aid budget, and if the bill is passed and signed into law, it will provide Lewis & Clark students with an estimated additional $200,000 in grant aid over the next two years.
“As you know, the independent colleges and universities in Oregon pay out huge amounts every year in grant and scholarship support to needy students so that they may attend our schools,” Hochstettler said. “In 2006, Oregon Independent Colleges invested more than $173 million in grants and scholarships to students—8 times more than all government grant programs combined. We at Lewis & Clark dedicate approximately 35 cents of every tuition dollar to need-based financial aid. We are very happy to do so, and we embrace our obligation to provide even the poorest groups within our society the kind of education that will transform them into productive and contributing members of the labor force. In the current period of financial uncertainty, we at Lewis & Clark have redoubled our efforts in this regard by committing an additional 10% in financial aid over current levels in an effort to address at least in part the anticipated decline in the ability of some of our students to finance their college education. Even at these levels, though, we cannot begin to meet the full financial needs of all of our students, which is one of the reasons I am here today.”