President Vicente Fox's day of discussions at Western Oregon
University (WOU) formally kicks-off the fundraising effort to create a
sustainable scholarship program that supports both the entrance to
and graduation of Latino students from Western Oregon University.
WOU has become a national leader in eliminating the traditional barriers
that prevent Latino students from beginning and completing college.
WOU has the highest percentage of Latino student enrollment among all
Oregon 4-year colleges and universities. Our efforts to date have resulted
in recognition by the Education Trust (2010) for being the top university
in America in eliminating the graduation gap between Latino and White
students. The Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs (2011) has also
recognized WOU for its ongoing efforts to support Latino students and their
Latino students, like many other students, struggle to overcome a significant
barrier to college completion-affordability. Despite the success of the
Western Tuition Promise (a guarantee of no tuition increases for four years),
and the development of the new Western Textbook Rental Program, many
students continue to struggle to pay for college. The development of an
endowed scholarship will increase the number of Latino students who
graduate from WOU.
Two unique aspects of these LEAP scholarships reflect WOU's experience in
working with lower-income students.
- Continuing students who have completed at least 90 credits will receive
priority in making awards, and financial need and leadership will be major
factors in award decisions. The scholarships will range from $500 to $1500.
Students often need additional assistance to cover bills so that they can
balance school and work (the majority of WOU students hold jobs while in
school and most students average over 20 hours a week of employment).
- Students will be expected to pay it forward. Recipients of the scholarship
will be encouraged to make contributions back to WOU over their lifetimes
to support future students. Former WOU students have already expressed
an interest in supporting this scholarship.
WOU will use the net proceeds from corporate sponsors of
President Fox's visit to establish this important scholarship program.
We thank you for your investment in the success of Oregon's fastest
growing ethnic community.