BEND, OR -- Hundreds of local college students are waiting to hear whether a state tuition assistance program will be renewed. Central Oregon Community College Dean of Student and Enrollment Services Alicia Moore says the first students to benefit from “Oregon Promise” just wrapped up their first term. She tells KBND News, "The combination of student success factors that we put in place, the advising, orientation and student success class, is a package of services that is pretty critical to a student being successful their first quarter and beyond. Looking forward, we’ll still include those elements as we move forward to next year, however we really still aren’t sure if the Legislature is going to pass Oregon Promise. We’re moving ahead as if it is. We know it’s been incredibly successful; we know our high schools are very thrilled with it; we know our students are thrilled with it."
Moore is optimistic state lawmakers will renew the program for a second year, in the next Legislative session. "This was meant to be a pilot year. And, the hope is that if Oregon Promise moves forward, the Legislature will pass a longer term commitment so not only colleges, but most importantly our students can know if that financial resource is available for them beyond just the first year." Oregon Promise provides tuition funding after all other state and federal financial aid options have been exhausted. Students must be enrolled in an Oregon community college within six months of graduating high school to be eligible.
"COCC actually has about 570-580 Oregon Promise students, which represents almost 8% of all Oregon Promise students, statewide. Overall, COCC sees about 5% of the state’s overall community college enrollment, yet 8% of students chose to come and receive their Oregon Promise dollars with us. So, that’s a huge boon for us, in an enrollment sense, but we also know it’s really reaching those students who may not have otherwise thought college was possible." Moore says COCC is moving ahead as if it will be available for next year and she suggests students do the same by making sure applications are submitted by the March sixth deadline.