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State Treasurer Encourages Support For Student Aid Grants - 06/23/22

A joint message from:  the Oregon Student Association; the Oregon Community College Association representing Oregon's 17 community colleges; the Oregon Council of Presidents representing Oregon's eight public universities; and the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities representing 13 Oregon independent non-profit colleges and universities.

June 23, 2022, Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Pell Grant. The Oregon Opportunity Grant enjoyed its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  

A campaign to #DoublePell is underway. It has bipartisan public support and will help more students earn a degree, get good-paying jobs, and graduate with less debt. At a press conference held today to commemorate the event, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read said, “Funding financial aid for students creates opportunities and is really important for the Oregon economy. Pell Grants are the federal government’s main tool for helping lower-income students and families access high education. Unfortunately, the funding levels have not kept up with costs. If I’ve learned anything in my work as Treasurer, it’s that there is no better investment than in the potential of rising young people.

With the help of a Pell Grant and other student aid, Nicole Paredes-Cisneros recently graduated debt-free from the University of Oregon with two undergraduate degrees. Paredes-Cisneros is a first-generation student and stated that the Pell grant for her provided a sense of relief, sending her the message that “we’ve got it covered, just go and make us proud.” She urged Congress to double the amount of Pell Grants that are transformational and create opportunity for all students. She described the grants  as “a light, a light that’s motivated students to reach for the sky, day-by-day”.  

Chemeketa Community College student McKinzie McBride said, “The Pell Grant and scholarships that I have received widened the door of possibilities for me and my family. As a full-time mother, employee, and now student, completing college will be one of my greatest accomplishments in life and I am so thankful for having some of the financial burden relieved. The Pell Grant has helped make my dreams come true.”

“The Pell Grant has made college more affordable and will help me graduate without the burden of significant student loan debt,” said Ian Curtis, a senior at Willamette University. “As the costs associated with attending college increase, the Pell Grant must increase as well. The Pell Grant program is a strategic investment in the future of our nation. It is time to double the Pell Grant and invest in a program that will yield strong returns in the years to come.” 

A video of today’s press conference can be seen here.

 

MEDIA ALERT: Press conference in Salem, Oregon, to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Oregon Opportunity Grant and the Pell Grant - 06/22/22

The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and UniversitiesOregon Community College AssociationOregon Council of Presidents, and Oregon Student Association are sponsoring a press conference at 10am on Thursday, June 23, to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Oregon Opportunity Grant and the Pell Grant. Speakers will include State Treasurer Tobias Read and students attending Oregon’s Community Colleges, Public Universities and Independent, Nonprofit Universities who benefit from these important grants.

Students will share their experiences as recipients of these need-based grants and the importance of broadening this support for future generations of students. Academic research shows additional grant aid increases enrollment and has a demonstrable impact on students’ ability to stay in school.

WHAT:  50th Anniversary of the Oregon Opportunity Grant and Pell Grant Media Availability

WHEN:  Thursday, June 23, 10 am to 10:30 am

WHERE:  Willamette University’s Ford Hall - Lobby, 900 State St. Salem, OR 97301. Link to campus map: https://willamette.edu/about/visit/pdf/campus-map.pdf.

WHO:  Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read and students attending Oregon’s Community Colleges, Public Universities, and Independent, Nonprofit Universities who benefit from these important grants.

Increasing funding for the OOG is one of the most important actions legislators can take to provide marginalized communities with a realistic possibility of social mobility. Student financial aid programs disproportionately support BIPOC students, and we often hear from lower-income, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, rural, and students from other historically marginalized backgrounds the greatest challenge they face is financing their education. 

Doubling the Pell Grant is also good policy. It has bipartisan public support, and will help more students earn a degree, get good-paying jobs, and graduate with less debt. Investing in the Pell Grant not only increases access to opportunity, it’s a proven strategy to improve student success and retention efforts. Since its inception, 2,386,279 Oregon students have benefited from $6,187,642,682 in grant funding.

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The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (“The Alliance”) is comprised of 13 private, nonprofit, independent colleges and universities in the state of Oregon. These institutions deliver high-quality experiential learning with high-impact teaching strategies. The Alliance is the collective voice of Oregon’s independent, nonprofit higher education sector. For more information, visit www.oaicu.org.

The Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) represents the seventeen publicly chartered community colleges and their locally elected board members. Founded in 1962, OCCA is an association whose purpose is to support the colleges before policy-makers and partners whose actions affect the well-being of community colleges across the state.

The Oregon Council of Presidents (OCOP) is a voluntary association comprised of the Presidents of Oregon’s eight public universities. OCOP was formed in 2016 to foster coordination and collaboration among the Oregon public university presidents and other university officials.

The Oregon Student Association is a statewide, student-led advocacy and organizing nonprofit. OSA was established in 1975 to represent, serve, and protect the collective interests of students in post-secondary education in Oregon. We represent over 80,000 students and work to make a quality education more affordable and accessible for all Oregonians.