Oregon Senate Bill 81 Passes: Free Community College to Eligible Students

7/8/2015 12:00:00 AM
Oregon Senate Bill 81 has passed in the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
 
Senate Bill 81 offers “free” community college to eligible students:
·         Residents of Oregon
·         Within 6 months of their HS graduation or GED
·         Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA
·         Working towards an Associate’s Degree, program certificate in CTE or one-year curriculum certificate
 
The State of Oregon will pay the balance of  tuition not covered by need-based grants for eligible students who have applied for and received those grants.
 
If passed, Oregon will become only the second state to offer such a program (following Tennessee in 2014).
 
According to the 2011-12 Community College Profile (the most recent one the state has made available) about 11% of Oregon CC students receive Federal Pell Grants. Here at KCC, that number is about 16.5%.
 
Given that enrollment at Oregon Community Colleges has dropped between 20% and 30% since 2009, and that more than 60% of Oregon college graduates leave school owing on average more than $26,000 (source), this bill, if passed, has the potential to make a big difference.

Here is the full text of SB 81:
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB81
 
And here is the OregonLive story:
http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-33425-oregon_will_become_second_state_to_offer_free_community_college.html

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