CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Foundation announced today it will support OSU's branch campus plan with funds equivalent to a $3.5 million endowment that would be earmarked for student scholarships.

Those funds would provide approximately $150,000 annually to students attending the OSU branch campus - as many as 60 scholarships of $2,500 each.

"The OSU Foundation Board is committed to the success of the university's branch campus plan and believes that funding student scholarships is a laudable use of its resources," said Rebecca Cole, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation.

University officials say the funds, which are contingent upon OSU receiving legislative funding, will help leverage additional dollars. A portion of the $150,000 annual commitment may be used to match contributions from other donors. The foundation is committing the funds for 20 years.

"This is a terrific commitment by the foundation that goes to the heart of the Oregon State University branch campus proposal - helping students achieve success," said OSU President Paul Risser. "It will no doubt be a tremendous asset in the recruitment of top students from Central Oregon for the new branch campus."

Risser said the scholarships likely will be used for upper division scholarships and as stipends for graduate students. Details of the scholarship program will be released at a later date, he added.

The OSU Foundation scholarship support will come from funds generated through the foundation's significant endowment. The Foundation has assets of approximately $400 million, of which $293 million is in an endowment.

Cole pledged to work with Central Oregon Community College on a coordinated fund-raising program. "We're excited about the potential of the branch campus," she said. "There is a great deal of support in Central Oregon for expanding educational offerings."

During the past three years, the OSU Foundation has spent $350,000 supporting projects in Central Oregon.

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Becky Cole, 541-737-1760