BEND - Leaders of Oregon State University and Central Oregon Community College on Friday, March 16, will sign an agreement to create a dual enrollment and admission program that will allow students to take classes and move their educational programs easi ly from one institution to the other.

The agreement is an important step forward for the collaborative relationship between OSU and COCC as they work together to create a new branch campus in Central Oregon, officials say.

"This will be a significant part of the seamless student experience we're going to create at the new branch campus and another milestone for higher education in Central Oregon," said OSU President Paul Risser. "Through past experience we've found that pr ograms such as this make a huge difference. They encourage students to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree, make the process simple and help familiarize them with the vast array of educational opportunities at a four-year university."

A ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding about the dual enrollment program will be held at 4:15 p.m. in the Oregon Room of the COCC Library, attended by Risser, COCC President Bob Barber and a group of faculty and administrators from both institu tions.

"Our focus, as we continue to develop this partnership, is rightfully on the students," Barber said. "This agreement emphasizes that focus. I think it is significant that our first formal agreement with OSU is one that will be of direct benefit to studen ts. I see it not as a two-way agreement, but a three-way partnership with COCC, OSU and the students."

The signing ceremony is an important step of an ongoing process between OSU, COCC and other educational partners as they work to develop the courses, programs, student services, facilities and degrees that will transform the branch campus from a plan to a functional reality by this fall, officials say.

Also on March 16, OSU Provost Tim White will speak to the COCC faculty at a luncheon to provide an update on the branch campus development process, and other OSU and COCC transition teams will meet to continue working out the details of the new collabora tive effort.

OSU has already created several dual enrollment programs with community colleges around Oregon. Under the agreements, students pay regular tuition and fees at the different institutions, but only a single application fee. To participate they must also me et OSU enrollment standards and have the necessary college preparatory coursework. Transfer students may also qualify for the program.

In the case of COCC, students who participate in the dual enrollment program may take courses and continue their education either at the new branch campus in Bend, once the necessary funding is approved by the Oregon legislature, or at Oregon State Unive rsity's Corvallis campus.

"The idea is to take some of the bureaucracy and red tape out of getting a college degree, and allow students to focus more on their studies and career aspirations," White said. "It's the same concept we'll be using in many of our efforts, such as financ ial aid or advising, to streamline student services and make them more customer-friendly."

"OSU has been a pioneer in the creation of this type of dual enrollment agreement," White said. "It's a fair amount of work for the institutions but a great benefit and service for the students. They can start their college career, determine their interes ts and then know they are already accepted at a university which can take their education in practically any direction they want to go."

Prospective students who want to receive more information about the new dual enrollment program, the courses and degrees to be offered at the new branch campus, apply for enrollment or get other information can call (800) 291-4192 or link to the branch ca mpus website through the OSU home page at

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Paul Risser, 541-737-4133