(Ashland, Ore.) —Southern Oregon University has announced a new strategic initiative designed to provide a pathway to college for more local high school graduates. The Jackson/Josephine Pledge Program is open to qualifying students who graduate from a high school in Jackson or Josephine County and are eligible for regular admission to SOU.
Those who are accepted into the program will receive tuition discounts of approximately 35 percent and may save on other costs as well, as the Jackson/Josephine Pledge is a three-year baccalaureate degree program. Due to the additional work required to graduate in just three years, students in the Pledge cohort—which has 50 open spots beginning in fall 2016—will have access to enhanced student support services, including individual advising, coaching, and mentoring. “We will be providing the kind of wraparound support and resources necessary to ensure that these students can be successful in three years,” according to Lisa Garcia-Hanson, SOU’s associate vice president for enrollment and retention.
Students who will be graduating from high schools in Jackson or Josephine Counties in spring 2016 are encouraged to apply by SOU Admissions’ priority application deadline of Feb. 15, 2016, in order to ensure that they are considered for the Pledge Program. “Due to the nature of the program, it isn’t open to transfer students. The ideal student for the program is someone who will be graduating this spring, hopefully with early college credit from SOU or another institution already on their transcript,” Garcia-Hanson said. “The Pledge is designed in part to help those students who didn’t think college was possible, due to cost or other factors, see that not only is it possible, it’s affordable too!”
Funding for the Pledge is available after the Oregon Legislature increased funding for public higher education in the state for the 2015-2017 biennium. “This increased funding will allow us to continue to meet financial targets set forth in our retrenchment plan while simultaneously making strategic investments like the Jackson/Josephine Pledge that create a pathway to college for more Oregonians,” said SOU President Roy Saigo. “The goal here is to ensure more local Oregonians have access to college, then ensure that we retain and graduate them at greater rates through initiatives like the Jackson/Josephine Pledge.”
Due to the accelerated three-year program, not all SOU degree programs are available through the Pledge. Participating programs include: Business Administration; Computer Science; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Elementary Education (not including licensure); Emerging Media and Digital Arts; and Health, Physical Education, and Leadership.
To be considered, students should visit sou.edu/admissions/pledge.html and fill out the inquiry card.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.