The Oregon Opportunity Grant is the state's longest-running need-based grant program for students from the lowest-income households in the state. This review focused on a sample of students who were seniors in the 2015/16 school year, applied for Oregon Promise in 2015/16, and attended schools in any public school district in Oregon (n=68,713). The study findings are supplemental to the RDD main findings reported in the same manuscript.
The majority of the sample was female (58%), eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (70%), and White (64%). Close to one-fourth were Latinx (24%). Sixteen percent received special education services, while 8 percent were English Learners. Asian, Black, Native American, and Pacific Islander students were a small sample percentage at four, two, two, and one percent, respectively.
In the 2015/2016 school year, Oregon Public high school seniors could apply for an Oregon Promise Scholarship. The application process required 1) submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA), and 2) listing on either application at least one community college they planned to attend. Applicants meeting the following eligibility requirements were offered an Oregon Promise award: 1) achieved an unweighted cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher (GED recipients had to achieve a test score of 145 or higher), 2) lived in Oregon for at least 12 months before community college enrollment, and 3) had a valid FAFSA or ORSAA. Eligible applicants offered an award were required to use it to attend an Oregon community college within 6 months of high school completion. Students who re-enrolled in college for a second year were eligible for additional funding.
The 2015/16 high school seniors in Oregon public schools in the matched comparison group were likely eligible for the Promise scholarship if they had applied to the program. Although they did not apply, these non-applicants had demographic, academic, and socio-economic characteristics similar to the 2015/16 high school seniors that applied and were offered the program.
Support for implementation
The Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) at Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) administered the scholarship program when the study was conducted. Representatives from HECC, and Oregon education stakeholders from K–12 state and local education agencies, collaborated with the Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest to plan the study and provide access to its data.