Tomorrow the five presidents of Chemeketa Community College, Clackamas Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, Portland Community College and Portland State University will sign a historic agreement to integrate student admissions and enrollment, academic planning and support services. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing event will take place in Portland State’s Urban Center, 506 SW Mill, 2nd floor Gallery, at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21.
The MOU will form the Portland Area Higher Education Consortium, signifying a mutual pledge of five of Oregon’s largest education institutions to provide greater access to courses and degrees for students without having to negotiate multiple systems, and a more coordinated delivery of educational programs in the region. Students will be able to move freely among all five schools, taking advantage of where and when courses are offered at each school, and what they need to complete their educational goals.
“A student at one school may be a student at all five if he or she wishes” said Joe Johnson, president of Clackamas Community College. “And we will integrate our admissions, enrollment, and financial aid systems to accommodate them.”
The beginnings of the Consortium started in 1997 when Clackamas and Portland State signed an agreement allowing students to be jointly admitted to both schools. With the development of several more such agreements the presidents of the five institutions met in 2003 to discuss ways in which further cooperation could serve students even more, and better utilize scarce resources in an efficient and effective way.
“People in the region expect us to work together, coordinating our efforts, and eliminating duplication and unnecessary steps to a degree,” said Preston Pulliams, president of Portland Community College.
Gretchen Schuette, president of Chemeketa Community College, a member of the OSHE Board, and chair of the Governor’s workgroup on Excellence in Delivery and Productivity, sees this agreement as one that fits with the goals of other state initiatives. “We need to increase access, create clear pathways to degrees and certificates, and facilitate in every way possible our students attaining their educational goals, whether that is at a community college or a university.”
The MOU agreed to by each school focuses on integrated admissions and registration for students, and coordinated financial aid and advising. The agreement also calls for joint academic planning, the sharing of classroom facilities where possible, and the opportunity for students to complete a four year degree from PSU while remaining on the community college campus.
“Our biggest challenge right now is sharing the student data we need among all five schools,” said Robert Silverman, president of Mt. Hood Community College. “We believe we can find the resources to make this happen.”
“This consortium is a model for Oregon and for the nation, in providing seamless education between universities and their community college partners,” said Daniel O. Bernstine, president of Portland State who has long pushed for greater articulation with the area community colleges. “What makes this possible is the willingness of each school to make that extra effort on behalf of students.”
Students within the consortium schools already are benefiting from joint enrollment agreements and single financial aid packages. It is expected that by next summer a single application and registration process will be in place. The five member schools have already been meeting for over a year to coordinate academic offerings and align curricular offerings.
For more information contact: Guy Sievert, coordinator, Portland Area Higher Education Consortium, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 503-725-5234
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Guy Sievert (503-725-5234)
Coordinator, Portland Area Higher Education Consortium
For Immediate Release (#06-047)