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Students gain from PCC-OSU Alliance

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by Susan Hereford

The signatures of Portland Community College President Dan Moriarty and Oregon State University President Paul Risser made it legal. The two schools are now formally joined together in a dual enrollment and admissions program that ultimately gives students more choice, more opportunity and greater success in higher education. A signing ceremony, held in early March, brought representatives from the two institutions to the Sylvania Campus to celebrate the achievement.

"It is about putting the students first," said Risser, who also congratulated the joint PCC-OSU team for its work. "It sounds conceptually simple, but when you work through systems such as grades, transcripts, financial aid … it is not so simple."

Also celebrating were Dan Lippis and Aleisha Helbig, two PCC engineering students who made it legal with their first signatures on the new applications.

Lippis and Helbig, majoring respectively in mechanical and electrical engineering, look forward to the new arrangement that streamlines the application and enrollment process and provides a smooth transition between the two campuses.

Lippis said, "I will miss PCC, but I am very excited to go on to OSU … I think it says a lot about Portland Community College and about the (engineering) program that OSU wants to do this." Lippis will transfer to OSU this fall.

Aleisha Helbig, 19, and in her first year at PCC, decided in high school to shoot for a degree and a career in engineering. She wanted to go to OSU, but was not sure how she would do it. Her path, she says, is much clearer now.

In an interview in The Oregonian, Helbig said, "Now, I’m saving money, since I can stay home while I go to PCC. This is making the plan I’ve had seem so much more real. I keep thinking, ‘I’m actually going to do this.’ That’s a wonderful feeling." She expects to move to OSU in the fall of 2001.

Engineering is one of four PCC programs covered by the agreement. The other three are business, computer science and pre-health professions, including pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary and pre-physical therapy. But officials at both schools want to expand to other academic areas in the future.

Essentially, the new program will allow students to be admitted to both PCC and OSU with a single application. Students start their work at PCC, but can take classes at both schools and make an easy transition to OSU. Students will pay regular tuition fees at OSU and PCC. The partnership is part of a trend in higher education to build better relationships between two-and four-year schools.

The project came about when one of OSU’s admissions directors approached Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, PCC admissions coordinator, about the possibility of entering into a formal arrangement. OSU already offers dual-enrollment programs to community college students at Southwestern Oregon in Coos Bay and Linn-Benton in Albany.

PCC is now talking with Portland State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology about setting up a similar arrangement. According to Guy Sievert, PCC dean of academic services, talks are progressing nicely with these two institutions, but it is too early to tell if a deal will be struck.

PCC and OSU hope to get the word out to current and prospective metro area students. In late April, PCC and OSU admissions representatives invited high school counselors to the Sylvania Campus to hear about the new program. "The counselors I have talked to so far seem very excited about this new opportunity for their students," said Bailey-Fougnier. "They can see the potential."

Dan Moriarty, president of PCC, said that with the new partnership in place, students are secure in the knowledge and, "They can say, ‘I’m enrolled at PCC and at OSU, too.’ It is a benefit for all students, including high school students."

Oregon Sen. Tom Hartung, who spoke at the ceremony, promised to take the news of the new agreement to Salem during the next session. Hartung, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said, "It is an example of what can be done. And it is inspiring to see these things happening."

For more information on this program, please contact Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, PCC admission officer, at 977-4520.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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