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Oregon Treasurer Proposes Bond Fund for Scholarships

In 2010, Richard S. Lariviere, then president of the University of Oregon, proposed that the state issue $800-million in bonds to bolster appropriations to the campus, in Eugene.

That idea foundered, and Mr. Lariviere’s advocacy for his proposal became one of the political millstones that eventually sank his presidency.

But the idea of borrowing money to shore up higher-education appropriations has resurfaced in Oregon, this time from the state treasurer, Ted Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler’s idea, according to The Oregonian, is to use state bonds to create a scholarship fund for the state’s students.

The initial amount of $500-million could more than double in a decade, writes an Oregonian columnist, David Sarasohn, who notes that the state is now near the bottom in per-capita state appropriations per student.

But the question is whether the legislature and citizens will go along with the proposal—not only would lawmakers have to sign off on the plan, but using bond money for something other than capital expenditures would also require voter approval.

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