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Oregon Initiative Sees Inaugural Wave of Students Start College

From Brett Rowlett, Lane Community College.

More than a year after Governor Kate Brown signed it into effect, the state’s 17 community colleges are welcoming their first class of Oregon Promise through their doors.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

The Oregon Legislature passed the bill, which appropriates $10 million in tuition grants for residents freshly graduated from high school or its equivalent.  Candidates must also be pursuing a degree or certificate from any community college within the state.

State Senator Mark Hass was at Lane Community College’s official welcoming orientation for 120 of its Oregon Promise students this week.  The Beaverton Democrat sponsored the legislation.

“In my generation, you could walk out of high school and into a lumber mill, and you were pretty well set for the next 30 years.  Well, those days long gone," says Hass.  

"But this is the first cohort of the Oregon Promise.  I got goose bumps talking to some of the kids. ‘What are you studying?” “Oh, I’m going to be a dental hygienist. I’m going to be a diesel mechanic. I’m going to be a doctor, I just need to get my first couple years of core classes out of the way.’” 

Hass says the program supports the next generation of workers, without pairing them with heavy debt. 

Statewide, there are 10,000 Oregon Promise students this academic year.

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