The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Oregon Promise grant lowers GPA requirements: How is COCC affected?

Graphic by Miina McCown

In April 2022, Oregon legislature made changes to the Oregon Promise grant by lowering its requirements from a 2.5 GPA level to a 2.0 GPA level, and allowing high-schoolers to graduate 6 months in advance and still be eligible.

The Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps cover tuition costs at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED test graduates, covering a total of up to 90 credits. Students must apply during their senior year.

In addition, Oregon legislature also removed the limits they had on the highest need students’ minimum award amount being $1,000 to $2,054 to help match the statewide increasing tuition costs. As well as many other changes to help encourage high-schoolers or recent GED graduates to enroll into college and continue their education in an Oregon community college.

“It’s a win-win,” said Breana Sylwester, Director of Financial Aid for Central Oregon Community College.

“It pays the tuition of the students on their behalf, so COCC still gets the tuition funding and students don’t have to pay out of pocket,” she said. “[It’s a] great opportunity for our state and our students across the board,” added Sylwester in reference to why the Oregon Promise is beneficial for both students and the college.

Asher Roberts, a COCC student told The Broadside about the impacts the Oregon Promise had on his life.

“It made me go to COCC. I didn’t have to pay for anything so it made it better for me…everywhere else is expensive, plus, it was in my hometown so I didn’t have to travel anywhere,” said Roberts.

Juan Baer’Arevalos, the director of the Office of Student Access and Completion said, “there’s certainly positive things going on at COCC that we’ve been noticing, including last year, there was a very strong presence of Oregon Promise recipients last year that utilized their award and enrolled.

In Fall 2023, COCC saw the largest number of Oregon Promise applicants and recipients since the pandemic, according to Baer’Arevalos.

“We wanted to remove the limitation on the minimum award amount for the highest needs students, which today is $2,050. In the past, it was $1,000. And it was in law that max, the minimum was going to be $1,000. So it wouldn’t go up, even though tuition cost increases will go up. So that was something that we strongly felt needed to be changed, ” said Baer’Arevalos.

“We also wanted to reduce the GPA requirements because there are students who have great potential in college who have a GPA lower than the previous requirement of 2.5… And we’re glad to see the numbers go up,” added Baer’Arevalos.

According to Sylwester, some of the changes come with a trade off with some of the renewal requirements being changed as well, Oregon Promise students showing a higher percentage of completion in past years.

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