Improving college affordability for Oregon students and families is a continuing priority of the HECC. Recent affordability initiatives address not only tuition and financial aid, but also time to degree, efficiency in credit transfer, student success support, textbook affordability, and more, in recognition of the numerous interrelated factors that influence affordability for Oregonians.
Restructure and Expansion of Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG)
As a result of HECC-sponsored 2015 legislation, Oregon began using a new methodology for awarding the state’s largest need-based grant, the Oregon Opportunity Grant, prioritizing lowest-income students first who are on track to succeed academically, instead of awarding on a first-come first-served basis. In addition, in 2015 the state increased OOG funding by 23.6%.
Launch of the Oregon Promise
Established through 2015 legislation, the HECC has launched the Oregon Promise, a new program that offers the high school Class of 2016 and qualified GED® recipients the opportunity to receive full or partial tuition grants to attend community college. In fall 2016, 6,745 students have received the grant fo the first time.
Funding Model that Incentivizes Supporting Students through Graduation
An increased focus on college completion recognizes that time-to-degree impacts student cost, and students who stop out do not gain the earning capability of a degree, compounding financial challenges. In 2015-16, the HECC began implementing the Student Success and Completion Model, a new funding model for Oregon’s seven public universities, incentivizing investments that lead to increased degree completion. The model will be fully implemented by the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Oregon is leading other affordability innovations, including:
Finally, HECC places continued state level focus on reinvestment in Oregon’s public colleges and universities to mitigate tuition increases for students. Despite significant state reinvestment in recent years, Oregon faces a steep funding challenge due to many years of underinvestment. HECC works closely with campuses, students, and state leaders on the levers that impact student cost, seeking meaningful solutions to protect the affordability and opportunity of a college credential.