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2016 November 3 - 04:03 pm

Ore. Students Benefit from College Grant Program

Oregon Promise Waives Tuition at Community Colleges

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of students in Central Oregon have benefited from a new state grant that waives community college tuition for low-income students.

About 500 of the 1,075 new students enrolled at Central Oregon Community College have received Oregon Promise aid, but school officials say it’s not yet clear if more students are attending as a result of the program, The Bulletin reported (https://is.gd/ qxdLgT ).

“That’s the mystery, is how many of these students would have already come,” said Kevin Multop, director of financial aid at COCC.

The Oregon Promise program subsidizes community college tuition for students who graduated from an Oregon high school in the spring or summer with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, or have completed their GED this year.

Central Oregon Community College Dean of Student Enrollment Services Alicia Moore said it seems most of the new Oregon Promise students are direct from high school, not GED recipients.

“Anecdotally, we know the majority are direct from high school,” she said.

At COCC, 43.7 percent of Oregon Promise students received a federal Pell Grant, meaning that cash was put toward their tuition before Oregon Promise money was. This is part of the Oregon grant’s requirements that the state funding be the “last dollar in,” according to Multop. He says all other funding goes toward community college funding before the state money.

The Legislature has not decided whether the Oregon Promise program will be available again in the 2017-18 school year, but COCC officials are preparing for next year assuming it will be renewed. This means the school is working to hone its success program, which is required to receive state funding.

Per the Legislature, Oregon community colleges had to create some requirements for students who receive Oregon Promise grants. At COCC, students are required to complete three requirements if they intend to receive money again in 2017-18: participate in academic advising, attend orientation and enroll in and complete a college success class.

Moore says of the 500 Oregon Promise students at COCC, 398 participated in orientation and are eligible for funds again next year.

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