April is National Community College Awareness Month!
Each week this month, this e-newsletter will provide stories, information and videos that highlight Oregon's community colleges.
  Student Success  
  OCCA Executive Committee approves resolution in support of CC Month  

The Oregon Community College Association Executive Committee has approved a resolution in support of Oregon's 17 community colleges during Community College Month in April. Other community college boards of education are also encouraged to approve similar resolutions. Click here for the OCCA resolution.

  OCCA announces All-Oregon Academic Team  
AOAT Featured Scholars (Clockwise, left to right): Dava Nimmo, Natasha Robinson, Nora Jackson, Casey Dudek

The Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) is excited to announce the selection of 45 community college students from around the state to the 2020-2021 All-Oregon Academic Team (AOAT). These outstanding student scholars are selected for their academic excellence, leadership and community service, and are all members of Phi Theta Kappa, the nation's community college honor society.

In addition, the OCCA Board each year selects four students from the 45 outstanding scholars to serve as speakers at the recognition luncheon. With the cancellation of the 2021 luncheon due to COVID-19, these four students instead will create short videos to introduce themselves and share their inspiring stories for the OCCA website. Stay tuned for these amazing videos! This year's featured student scholars include Natasha Robinson and Dava Nimmo from Rogue Community College, Casey Dudek from Portland Community College, and Nora Jackson from Lane Community College. Click here for a list of AOAT student scholars. Congratulations to all!

  Faculty adjust teaching methods in virtual landscape  
Portland Community College anatomy/physiology  instructor Poulami Mitra

When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person instruction at community college campuses, instructors had to quickly make adjustments to how they taught and connected with their students. One of those innovative faculty is Portland Community College (PCC) anatomy and physiology instructor Poulami Mitra, who is a former academic researcher with the Oregon Health & Science University. Having taught at the Rock Creek Campus since 2013, she is among several teaching innovators who have worked to reinvent their methods to better connect with and educate students in the new remote learning environment. Click here to read how she did so.

  Chemeketa CC CAMP program helps first-year students  
Sonali Salgado
Fedora Scherepanov

Attending an Oregon community college is so much more than going to class for students! Community colleges offer a wide range of support services to students to help them achieve success. One such service is the Chemeketa Community College CAMP program (College Assistance Migrant Program), which supports students from migrant and seasonal farm worker backgrounds in their first year of college. This great program provides tutoring, mentoring, academic advising, personal and career counseling, quarterly stipends and more to these students as they navigate their first year of college. View stories from two students who've found success at Chemeketa community college thanks to support from CAMP -- click here for Sonali Salgado's story, and click here for Fedora Cherepanov's story

  Study examines rural & non-rural student outcomes in higher ed  

The Ford Family Foundation has released a study that examines rural and non-rural Oregon public high school graduates' college enrollment, persistence, transfer, and completion in higher education. More than two-third of Oregon's public high schools are rural, and they enroll about 42% of all Oregon public high school students. The "Supporting Rural Students in Oregon High School and Beyond: A Study of College Enrollment, Persistence, Transfer, and Completion Outcomes" study finds that rural students had lower rates of enrollment, persistence, and completion than their non-rural peers. In addition, the study found that for both rural and non-rural high school graduates, the most common type of college for them to enroll in was a community college. Click here to read the study's summary report.

  Did You Know?  
  Community colleges are Oregon's only Hispanic Serving Institutions  

The number of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the country has increased 94% in the last 10 years, with 569 such institutions in 30 states around the country. While they make up about 18 percent of higher education institutions, HSIs educate about 67 percent of Hispanic students. To become an HSI, an institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time students that is at least 25% Hispanic. In Oregon, the only higher education institutions with a full HSI designation are community colleges: Blue Mountain Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Columbia Gorge Community College, and Treasure Valley Community College. Click here to learn more about HSIs.

  Community colleges are a great return on investment for students  

Investing in your education is one of the best investments a person can make. Students who choose to attend an Oregon community college have definitely made a wise investment. According to a June 2020 economic impact analysis conducted by Emsi of Oregon's community colleges, students will receive $3.4 billion in increased earnings over their working lives in return for their investment in an Oregon community college education. This translates to a return of $3.90 in higher future earnings for every dollar students invest in their education -- an average rate of return of 18.8%! Compare that to a 9.9% annual return on a stock market 30-year average, or a 0.8% return on interest earned in the average savings account, and you can see why an investment in Oregon community colleges is a valuable one!

  Support the Community College Support Fund!  
  Please support HB 2907  

LEGISLATORS: Please support HB 2907 to fully fund Oregon's 17 community colleges at $702 million for the 2021-23 biennium! Community colleges are the affordable option for access to higher education in Oregon, particularly after the pandemic caused financial hardship for many Oregonians. Every dollar cut from the Community College Support Fund must be made up by raising tuition or cutting programs and services, moving educational opportunities out of the reach of the Oregonians with the most need.

In addition, community college's are Oregon's economic recovery first responders. Community colleges are essential to responding to the recession brought on by COVID-19 and the wildfires of 2020, offering shorter-term programs directed at getting unemployed Oregonians retrained and back to work as quickly as possible.