Oregon Promise at COCC - A Community Update

Oregon Promise logoStarting this year, direct-from-high school graduates or GED recipients were eligible to receive tuition assistance through the Oregon Promise program. Eligible full-time students receive a minimum of $1,000 distributed over three quarters, noting that the amount is prorated for those attending three-quarter or half-time. To be eligible, students must:

  • Have been an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to enrolling in a community college;
  • Have received an Oregon high school diploma with a 2.5 cumulative GPA or GED certificate having passed all four tests and received a minimum score of 150;
  • Enroll as a certificate- or degree-seeking student at an Oregon community college within six months of graduating or completing the GED; and
  • Completed the FAFSA or ORSAA.

While funding for 2017-18 is still in discussion through the Oregon legislature, the program has been of tremendous benefit throughout Oregon. A recent state-level survey indicates that a majority of respondents reported that they would not have been able to attend college without assistance from Oregon Promise. Locally, more than 450 Central Oregonians received assistance via Oregon Promise, with a majority of students having mid- to high-levels of financial need.

As part of the Oregon Promise program, students are required to participate in activities designed to increase student success. To this end, COCC piloted a first-year experience program, in which students attend new student orientation, register in a student success class, and participate in academic advising and their commitment is paying off. Early indicators show that 89% of Oregon Promise students were retained for a second term, while their peers' retention rate was 80%.

While Oregon Promise provided $373,000 in tuition assistance during fall quarter, it is important to know that this just scratches the surface of student need. First, Oregon Promise is only open to recent high school graduates or students who recently received a GED. 4,580 students do not meet the recent high school graduate requirement and are not eligible for Oregon Promise assistance and the far majority of these students have significant financial need. Additionally, Oregon Promise only helps students with tuition but it does not cover books, fees, housing or other college expenses. As such, many COCC students work part or full time, which slows their progress towards a certificate or degree.

Students interested in pursuing Oregon Promise for the 2017-18 academic year are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or Oregon Student Aid Application (for undocumented students) and the Oregon Promise application as soon as possible, noting that the deadline is July 3. Students can also contact COCC's Financial Aid Office at 541.383.7260 or coccfindaid@cocc.edu.