Investing in Student Success
In February 2016, I sponsored a bill to allocated $1.7 million for much needed supports for community college students across Oregon. After passing the Oregon Promise in 2015, which establishes a tuition waiver program for qualifying high school graduates, Oregon is now a national leader in increasing affordable access to higher education.
This bill will make sure the Oregon Promise is successful by helping students graduate. In my testimony before a White House panel, I told the audience that we have to make sure that these new students the state is investing in become successful and complete their degrees. By completing their two-year degree or career technical certificate, students will be ready to fill a family wage job or move on to a bachelor’s degree and have a clear path to a more financially successful future.
The Oregon Promise
The Oregon Promise is a Community College tuition waiver program for eligible students. Over 10,000 students have benefited from this program in 2016. Students must accept all federal grant money first & in many cases, federal grants will cover the entire cost of tuition. The state will pay the remaining cost of tuition. This program provides a pathway to the middle class and is an investment for our state.
Reducing Textbook Costs
The 2015 legislature created the Open Education Resource (OER) database. OERs are free, online materials that faculty can use to replace traditional textbooks. Physical textbooks are costly and drive up the overall price to attend college. Investing in OERs will help reduce debt and giving students more financial security.
Setting High Standards
I supported legislation establishing higher standards for teacher education programs to train candidates in reading instruction practices. The K-3 reading benchmark is one of the most critical for our children. This bill requires teacher-training programs to make sure that new elementary level teachers have demonstrated the skills needed to help all students read well.