11/20/2014 update: The Chronicle has the story here.
Increased UC tuition and CA living costs will make UO more attractive for Californians. Couple this with the flat or declining Eugene rental rates, driven by the recent boom in city subsidized student apartment buildings and UO will be able to increase out-of-state tuition substantially. And, as explained below, this (and Connie Ballmer’s recent $25M donation for Pathways) will allow UO to increase the “discount rate” it offers to low SES and high ability students.
12/6/2014: UO’s efforts at (price) discrimination praised by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
UO has been engaging in more and more price discrimination, to good effect. The idea is to increase the listed tuition rate *and* the discounts available for students with lower willingness or ability to pay. As the report below from UO’s admissions office describes, this can improve college access for low SES students.
UO has also increased its academic scholarships for top students, as explained here. These students are typically from richer families. Why give scholarships to rich kids? Because many colleges want them, and they’ve got savvy parents who shop around. These students improve UO’s reputation and ranking, and therefore the value of a UO degree for all students. And as that value increases, so does the tuition we can charge to regular students with the money to pay, and therefore the amount of money available for scholarships for Pathways and the top scholar academic scholarships.
Unfortunately the Oregon legislature has capped UO’s tuition, and therefore our ability to work this virtuous feed-back loop to its full extent. This report from Duncan should be good ammunition for UO to use with the HECC to argue for relaxing the tuition ceiling. It would be great if Pathways had enough money to help these students get out of what are often difficult home environments and instead live in the dorms.
In a keynote speech at the Federal Student Aid Training Conference in Las Vegas, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised the University of Oregon’s PathwayOregon program as a model for others to follow.
“I would like to see more institutions of higher ed expanding programs like [the University of Oregon’s] PathwayOregon,” the secretary said.
PathwayOregon, now in its fifth year, ensures that academically qualified Oregonians who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant will have their UO tuition and fees paid with a combination of federal, state, and university grant funds. The program increases access to college for lower-income Oregon high school students and helps to ensure that they finish their degrees.
“Since it started in 2008, PathwayOregon has enrolled about 1,500 Pell-eligible students—nearly half of whom are first-generation college goers,” Secretary Duncan noted in his speech before nearly 7,000 financial aid leaders from across the country.
“But that program isn’t simply another college scholarship program,” Duncan said.
In addition to much-needed financial assistance, the program provides targeted academic support and advising to keep participants on track to graduation.
“Despite the fact that so many PathwayOregon participants are low-income, first-generation college students, they actually have a higher sophomore retention rate—90 percent—than other students at the university,” Duncan said.
“Think of how transformative more PathwayOregon programs could be at universities across the country,” Duncan concluded.
Learn more about the PathwayOregon program.