State Board of Higher Education endorses OSU-Cascades' expansion to full four-year offerings

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education today endorsed Oregon State University - Cascades' expansion into a four-year university. The Oregon State University branch campus has existed as a "2+2" model since it was founded in 2001, providing upper-division and graduate courses, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The OSBHE endorsement now allows OSU-Cascades to offer freshman and sophomore courses, providing a full four-year experience for students in what has been the state’s only major population area without the benefit of a four-year university.

The decision to endorse the expansion will enable the branch campus to increase enrollment towards OSU’s obligation in the state’s 40-40-20 goal, by attracting four-year students from within and outside the Central Oregon region, in addition to transfer and 2+2 students. Officials anticipate an enrollment of 3,000-5,000 students by 2025.

The Central Oregon community showed an outpouring of support for the expansion in the weeks leading up to the endorsement. Nearly 60 individuals and businesses made gift commitments totaling $1.575 million to demonstrate local support for a four-year campus, far exceeding the original $1 million goal.   

Becky Johnson, Vice President for OSU-Cascades said, “We are appreciative of this vote of confidence in OSU-Cascades and in Central Oregon by the State Board.” The expansion is expected to enhance the region’s economic development by providing an educated workforce and attracting business partnerships. 

OSU-Cascades’ inaugural freshman class is expected to enter OSU-Cascades in fall 2015, when lower division courses to support existing degrees in American studies, liberal studies, psychology and social science will be available. Prior to 2014, the campus will develop courses that will allow international students in OSU’s INTO program to complete requirements towards a business degree at OSU-Cascades. Following the launch of the initial four-year degree programs, officials anticipate launching degrees in science majors.

In addition to the support of the Bend campus’ expansion, the State Board also approved OSU-Cascades’ capital budget request of $16m in general fund and lottery bonds for the acquisition or renovation of facilities. The capital request will be included in the Oregon University System’s final budget request. The bonds will be matched with $8m in philanthropic support and outside revenue.  It is estimated that the growing campus will require an additional 90,000 sq. ft. of space.

Posted August 3, 2012