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Chancellor addresses repercussions of decreased funding for higher ed

OCF logoDi Saunders –Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869
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Joan Vallejo, 503-227-6846; jvallejo@oregoncf.org

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Cites younger working-age Oregonians as less well-educated than older counterparts

Medford, April 15, 2009 – On Monday, April 13 at a Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Forum, Oregon University System chancellor George Pernsteiner spoke about the current state of educational attainment and higher education in Oregon, and the impact of the current economic climate on Oregon’s future, with particular emphasis on Southern Oregon.

Pernsteiner was joined by Brian Fox, a member of the State Board of Higher Education and current student at Southern Oregon University, and Greg Chaillé, president of The Oregon Community Foundation.

The bottom line? Oregon is putting fewer resources into higher education with results that should be no surprise:

  • 33.4% of older working-age Oregonians have a Bachelor’s Degree, compared to 28.8% of younger working-age Oregonians
  • Increased costs means fewer students can afford to continue their education
  • Oregon ranks 41st in the country in higher education appropriations per student for 2 and 4-year institutions.

What this means for the future of our state, according to Pernsteiner, is a workforce that is unable to support the diverse needs of business and industry in the state, and according to Fox, one that will be ill prepared to meet the needs of business and industry when the economy picks up and the recession ends.  Fox added that fellow students who would normally be able to supplement their living expenses with part time work aren’t able to find work and are concerned about what the future holds for them upon graduation.

According to Chaille, in 2008 more than 200 students received OCF scholarships totaling $523,000 with $2.3 million dollars directed to Southern Oregon students over the last 10 years.  He went on to say that Southern Oregon has a rich tradition of supporting students via creating scholarship funds or volunteering on scholarship committees and that continuing that tradition is more important than ever in light of our current economy. 

Chancellor Pernsteiner has served the Oregon University System since 2004 working closely with the seven public universities in Oregon and the Board of Higher Education, Presidents of Oregon University System institutions, the Governor and the Legislature on higher education policy and issues (bio and photo at: http://www.ous.edu/news_and_information/bios/pernsteiner.php).

Brian Fox has been a member of the State Board of Higher Education since 2008, one of two student members on the 12-member Board, and is currently a junior at Southern Oregon University (bio and photo at: http://www.ous.edu/news_and_information/bios/b_fox.php).

Greg Chaillé has served as President of The Oregon Community Foundation since 1987. Today, the Foundation provides grants and scholarships around the state totaling more than $60 million per year and engages more than 1,250 volunteers to help in its work.

The Chamber program was sponsored by The Oregon Community Foundation with Medford Fabrication and Strand, Atkinson, Williams & York

For more information on OUS and OCF go to: www.ous.edu and www.oregoncf.org


The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about.  Through these funds, OCF awards more than $60 million annually in grants and scholarships.

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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