Money woes forcing Oregon to alter community college promise

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Promise may not be kept to students from wealthier families.

The program approved by lawmakers two years ago allows students to attend community college for nearly free, after scholarships and grants are subtracted from the tuition bill.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports (https://is.gd/1PbHOz ) lawmakers have budgeted $40 million for the program over the next two years — $8 million less than officials say is needed to pay for it. The state might cut off grants to students from wealthier families to make up the difference.

An education subcommittee met Wednesday and approved the proposal to restrict certain families from qualifying.

The potential changes come days before the state's July 3 application deadline for students looking to enroll for the fall term. More than 13,800 recent high school graduates and GED recipients have already submitted applications.

"This will create significant hardships for some students whose college plans were premised on getting this award and who will find out this summer that they don't receive it," said Ben Cannon, executive director of the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Though nothing is finalized, the state estimates the policy shift could apply to 1 out of every 6 applicants.

Roughly 20 percent of current promise students come from families with median adjusted gross income of $111,603 or greater, according to state records.

The Oregon Promise is currently available to students with at least a 2.5 grade point average who filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid application and graduated from high school within the past six months.

"It's attracted way more students than we originally budgeted for, which is a good thing, but it costs more," said Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com


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