CORVALLIS, Ore. – More than 3,400 Oregon State University students scheduled to receive reduced Oregon Opportunity Grant awards for the Spring term will have the shortfall made up entirely, thanks to donations from alumni and friends.
The majority of those students, some 3,370 who had anticipated full awards for the term, each would have faced an $80 shortfall, while 59 part-time students would have seen $40 reductions.
But thanks in part to the Campaign for OSU, which has made scholarships a top priority through a $100-million goal, those students will be able to focus on coursework and learning, rather than scrambling to make up the difference between their aid packages and their costs. The students who are being assisted will be notified via e-mail over the coming week.
Total cost of covering the shortfall: $490,000.
“We’re grateful for the generosity of our donors, as the OOG shortfall affects more than 20 percent of our undergraduate students,” said Kate Peterson, OSU assistant provost for enrollment management. “Of course, using those funds in this way now means we’ll have limited emergency monies going into the next academic year. Still, we felt that it was critical to help these students continue their progress toward degrees, so that our greatest contribution toward a healthy economy – the graduation of highly educated students – is as strong as it must be in these difficult times.”
Another 200 OSU students who could not meet an early application deadline last fall for OOG – announced when the program began to run low on cash – are being assisted with federal grant funds, Peterson said.
The OOG is a component of another major OSU initiative designed to help Oregon students: the Bridge to Success Program, which covers tuition and fees for all qualified Oregonian undergraduate students. Bridge to Success was announced last spring, with a goal of serving 1,500 students, but more than 3,000 Oregonians – one-fifth of the in-state undergraduate population – have actually received awards this year.
OSU will be unable to make any new awards in that program for the remainder of the 2008-09 academic year, but remain pleased with its success in this initial year. “Given the unexpected economic circumstances of the past six months, the Bridge to Success Program could not have been launched at a more critical time,” said Peterson.
The Bridge to Success Program also draws from scholarship funds raised as part of the Campaign for OSU, a $625 million capital campaign publicly launched in October 2007. As of December 2008, the campaign had raised $477 million and more than three-quarters of its $100-million scholarships goal.