ALBANY, Ore. – Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College celebrated a 20-year partnership on Friday that’s helped nearly 30,000 students to attend college.
The Degree Partnership Program allows students to be dual-enrolled at OSU and LBCC. Staff with the two schools said the program actually began after they discovered that students themselves had figured out how to best utilize this system.
“Fortunately, I think our institutions were smart enough to say, 'That's a great idea. Let's make it easier for them,” Greg Hamann, LBCC president, said.
When the colleges adopted the program it became more user-friendly to the sometimes 6,000 students a term who use it. For example, some students have trouble transferring credits between a community college and university and this program eliminates that issue.
Students said it’s a great opportunity to save money because lower-level classes at a community college tend to be cheaper. Many students also take those classes so that they qualify as full-time students and then can receive financial aid. Students also receive some benefits of being an OSU student, like access to advisors that help them map out their classes and educational plan.
"These schools should be working together because ultimately that's the goal, to help better educate our society,” said Richard Steeves, a Degree Partner student.
Staff with both OSU and LBCC said they’re very proud of this program but they still need to do better. They said there’s still a gap between those who have historically had access to education, and those who haven’t. They said more of an effort needs to be made to help underrepresented individuals, especially people of color.
"The biggest threat to a democracy is collapse within, and if we create a permanent underclass who have no stake in our society we will rue the day,” Ed Ray, president of OSU, said.