(Ashland, Ore.) — The Ashland School District and Southern Oregon University finalized an intergovernmental agreement on Thursday to make the basic contact information of Ashland high school students available to SOU – less than a week after the university and Medford School District completed an identical pact. The groundbreaking agreements enable SOU to promote college attendance and provide timely enrollment guidance that may improve access to college, particularly for traditionally underserved students.
“Agreements such as these are rare in the world of higher education, but we anticipate additional partnerships with other local school districts in the weeks ahead,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf. “Our hope is to open pathways to college that haven’t previously existed for many high school students in our area.”
SOU President Rick Bailey said that raising awareness of the steps that are necessary to attend college – and offering support for those who are interested – will raise the prospects of students, the university and communities throughout the region.
“This latest agreement illustrates our ongoing partnership with the Ashland School District, and our shared commitment to the educational needs of all students – including those who may not have family histories of college attendance,” President Bailey said. “I am a first-generation college student myself, so I am well aware of how helpful it is to have someone who can point out both opportunities and obstacles.”
Ashland School District Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove said the arrangement with SOU will help address questions that some students may not otherwise be able to answer.
“We are excited to give our students access to information on local post-secondary options, and to learn about how post-secondary education is both possible and a good fit for their career and life interests after high school,” Bogdanove said. “Students need to know that college is within reach.
“Having a local university like SOU is an exceptional opportunity,” he said. “When students register for high school, they can elect to participate, or not, in sharing directory information with third parties, including colleges. By participating, students and their families have the opportunity to learn more about the options available to them.”
The school district will provide SOU with basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The agreement ensures that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their school not to disclose the information.