Oregon has finally passed The Oregon Promise. If students graduate from high school with a 2.5 GPA and stay out of trouble, their tuition will be paid at a Oregon community college of their choice. “This will allow kids to jump into a career path or enroll in core college classes necessary for a bachelor’s degree for free, and they can do this without borrowing a dime for tuition.” says Mark Hass, Oregon State Senator from Beaverton, Oregon.
This bill has received a mostly positive response since it passed. This will give kids the opportunity to get a higher education and increase their chances of a successful future.
To get this legislation passed, collaboration between both parties in the state legislation and a buy-in from the education system was required. “In May, I had the opportunity to speak with President Obama when he visited Oregon. He told me that he believed our campaign would inspire other states to expand access to college and encouraged me to continue our efforts. His support further solidified my resolve.” stated Senator Mark Hass.
With a changing economy in Oregon from the timber industry to a commerce and tech industry led by Nike and Intel, it became essential to develop opportunities for their young people. Community colleges had some questions and concerns, mostly financial, as the state was underfunding many of it’s departments – including K-12 education. With adjustments to help cover educational costs beyond tuition for lower-income students and the endorsement of the Oregon Community College Association, the coalition was able to get the necessary votes to pass the bill. It passed the Senate 28-1 and the House 48-12.
The Oregon Promise will be enacted in 2016 and be available for high school graduates the following year. This bill will bring thousands of students in Oregon one step closer to an education that will help them succeed in today’s economy.