KLAMATH FALLS — The application deadline for the Oregon Promise is just around the corner, and Klamath Community College student Tandie Decker advises students interested in the college-paying program to apply as early as possible.
High school seniors who are graduating this June must apply no later than June 1.
“It’s pretty much free money for your college,” Decker said. “There’s only one chance to apply for the Oregon Promise. Don’t miss it.”
Decker took advantage of Oregon Promise in 2018, the year she graduated from Henley High School. Using Oregon Promise funding, which allows recent high school grads and general education development (GED) completers to attend any community college in Oregon at almost no cost, Decker enrolled in the associate of science program at KCC. She plans to transfer to Oregon Tech in the fall to major in vascular technology or echocardiography.
Savings for students
Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps cover tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED completers. The program pays for college tuition, after other state and federal grant aid has been applied, but does not cover other costs, such as books and fees.
“Each term KCC offers several courses which adhere to the Oregon Open Educational Resources low-cost/no-cost standard,” said Bill Jennings, interim vice president of student affairs at KCC. “This means there are classes in the schedule where the textbook materials are provided at no cost or at a price less than $40 for the class.”
For qualifying students, Oregon Promise covers up to 12 credits per term in fall, winter, and spring, up to a maximum total of 90 credits attempted. Although Oregon Promise students are responsible for paying for any additional credits above 12, students enrolled at KCC who take 15 or more credits are automatically enrolled in the college’s 15 to Finish program, which pays for three lecture credits.
“For Oregon Promise students who qualify for 15 to Finish, Oregon Promise can cover the first 12 credits, and KCC will pick up three more,” Jennings said. “Students must still pay for fees and lab tuition, but when these programs are combined with courses that have no-cost or low-cost textbooks, the courses are extremely affordable.”
Juan Garcia Silva, a 19-year-old student enrolled in KCC’s cybersecurity and networking program, said he was motivated to take advantage of Oregon Promise because it allowed him to earn an associate degree taking on little or no debt.
“One of the hardest things for me when I was in high school was looking at college prices and seeing them so FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/20/20 high. For me it seriously called into question, ‘Can I actually do this? Should I actually do this?’” Silva said. “I knew it would be a lot cheaper to attend community college, and I really liked the idea of having the ability to get an associate degree, almost for free, and figuring out the rest later, whether that be through scholarships or grants.”
Silva also plans to transfer to Oregon Tech and said one of his main goals is getting through college without taking out any loans.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to minimal loans, but at the same time I’d like to avoid that altogether,” Silva said. “I want to do this loan-free so for me, money was the biggest motivator in applying for the Oregon Promise.”
Decker said in addition to Oregon Promise, she is also utilizing the scholarship database available through the portal at the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) website. More than 500 scholarships and $18 million in funding is available based on criteria that includes, but is not limited to, high school attended, county of residence, college major, grade point average, and need.
“You have access through the OSAC portal to tons of different scholarships. The list is so long I haven’t even gotten all the way through it,” Decker said.
The OSAC Oregon Promise application is currently available for students who will graduate high school or earn a GED March 1 through June 30. Students must have a 2.50 cumulative high school grade point average or higher, or a 145 grade on all GED tests, and must be an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to college attendance.
Jennings encourages any parent or student interested in the Oregon Promise to visit the OSAC website for a full list of eligibility requirements.
The OSAC website states that Oregon Promise award amounts depend on a student’s remaining financial need after receiving other state and federal grants. In the 2020-21 academic year, awards will range from $1,000 to $4,005 per year for full-time students. A $50 co-pay is automatically deducted from the award each term.
For more information about Oregon Promise and how to apply, visit the OSAC website at https://www.oregonstudentaid.gov/oregon-promise-faq.aspx