Keep students afloat

On May 11, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, in a 6-2-0 vote, approved a 12 percent tuition raise for Southern Oregon University. The increase was passed despite many testimonies from students stating increases would drown them in debt, pricing them out of education.

For me, a 12 percent tuition increase means jeopardizing my ability to finish college. As a first-generation college student from a low-income background, I am vulnerable to fluctuating state budgets and constantly rising tuition rates. I am devastated to watch my friends, coworkers and peers go through similar financial struggles.

Moving forward, I am transferring my energy toward getting House Speaker Tina Kotek’s tax revenue plan passed. This plan would fund the Oregon Student Association’s asks of $765 million for universities, $636 million for community colleges, and $155 million for the Oregon opportunity grant. Funding universities in this way would allow the SOU Board of Trustees to limit the tuition increase to 8 percent. I hope that students, administrators and community members fight to pass a revenue plan that looks at corporations for solutions since we are dead last in the nation for corporate taxes. Keep students like me afloat, rather than drowning in debt.

Daryl Maplethorpe, ASSOU director of public relations

Ashland

Utility rates are a burden

My wife and I are retired and live in the Oak Knoll Meadows neighborhood. Since we have lived here the City Council has raised utility rates almost every year. As you are aware property taxes increase 3 percent every year. How can we address the affordable housing issue if existing homeowners are slowly being forced to move because of the raising costs of living in Ashland?

The council is currently once again considering increasing utility rates to cover the cost of five additional police officers. I note in the paper that the police purchased new badges because there was a surplus in the police budget. Maybe this surplus should have been used to hire additional officers.

We love living in the wonderful city of Ashland and hope the councilors will consider those of us on fixed incomes when they make financial decisions.

John Cowles

Ashland