OSU president wants outside support for students’ basic needs


Ray said students deserve greater access and affordability to enjoy the benefits of college

Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray (courtesy OSU)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The state of Oregon, the federal government and Oregonians have been called on by Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray to help address basic needs of college students.

Ray delivered remarks at his annual State of the University address Tuesday with a theme of bringing attention to the increasing amount of obstacles college students face.

“Going forward, we must reduce the cost of a college degree for learners across the nation,” Ray said. “We must reverse a trend where public higher education nationally has literally abandoned people at the lower end of the economic spectrum and soon the middle class. And we must end a risk of privatizing public universities because of a growing dependence on tuition.”

The cost of an education at an Oregon public university has grown and is now paid two-thirds by students and one-third by the state, according to Ray.

Ray, who is stepping down as OSU’s president at the end of June, said the school must address student mental health, particularly the crisis of anxiety and despair that is growing among young adults nationally. He said creating more opportunities for students to be treated for mental issues and speak regularly with health professionals will only help the overall effort to improve the college experience.

Louisiana State University’s former president and chancellor F. King Alexander will replace Ray on July 1, 2020.

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