LBCC Signs Historic Agreement with Western Oregon University

Greg.Hamann.Rex.FullerWestern Oregon University and Linn-Benton Community College finalized a partnership that will widen the path to a four-year degree for many more students in our community.

The LBCC/WOU Degree Partnership Program (DPP) will allow students who begin at LBCC to be enrolled at WOU at the same time to begin working on their 4-year goal in a variety of majors from day one. Students can live in the dorms at WOU while taking classes at LBCC and complete their freshman and sophomore classes at community college prices.  

“In an era of crushing student debt, and during a time when funding for Oregon’s higher education institutions is at risk, LBCC and WOU are getting creative,” said Linn-Benton Community College President Greg Hamann. “Together, mapping a path that combines the strengths of both institutions means more students will get the opportunity to achieve their goals.”

Western Oregon University President Rex Fuller said the signing today is about student success. “Many of our students are first-generation, and this partnership gives them the opportunity to earn a degree that will change their families’ future forever. That’s the power of a public education. It is agreements like this that help make that success happen.”

The two schools’ financial aid offices will work together so that students can maximize financial support at both schools simultaneously. Students will also have access to advisors and both institutions to help them chart a clear path to their bachelor’s degree.

Faculty members at both schools developed course standards and learning outcomes for a seamless transition through the degree partnership, which ensures that LBCC students will not lose credits when they transfer to WOU.

Ben Cannon, executive director of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Council, cited statewide data that shows that for students who start their education at a community college, the time to finishing their degree is often a full term longer due to classes that do not count toward their four-year degree.

“One of our biggest roles is to help coordinate higher education for the benefit of all Oregon students,” said Cannon. “This signing is a reflection of the commitment of President Fuller, President Hamann and their staff to create a pathway for students to ensure their success in higher education. The fact that LBCC and Western are offering this opportunity for students will help to ensure that the credits they take will count.”

Patrick Crane, director of the Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, said a  large number of Oregon university graduates started at a community college.

“This partnership is a major step forward to helping students complete their degree,” said Crane. “Under President Hamann’s leadership, LBCC has challenged the norm in community college education. LBCC was the first community college in Oregon to start Guided Pathways for students, and now nine other colleges are following their lead. President Fuller is making remarkable strides at Western Oregon to make college more affordable, and LBCC and Western are showing today that they are committed to helping our students succeed.”

The partnership mirrors the kind of revolutionary resource LBCC has developed with Oregon State University, essentially giving students the opportunity to be enrolled in both institutions at the same time, and ensuring credits undertaken will ultimately work toward earning a four-year degree, at a fraction of the cost and with support at both institutions.

Jessica SandovalJessica Sandoval is enrolled at both LBCC and WOU. A social science major, she graduated from LBCC with an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, and is currently working on her baccore classes toward her bachelor’s degree at WOU.

“The degree partnership is really important because it will help to provide a clear pathway for students to transition to Western,” said Sandoval. “As a student, there is already so much going on, and this degree program will provide guidance they need so they will have one less thing to worry about. It’s especially nice at WOU. The more manageable class sizes and campus makes it easier for students to navigate.”

Students interested in transferring to WOU are encouraged to apply for the Degree Partnership Program. For more information on applying, contact the LBCC Degree Partnership office at 541-917-4577.

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Photos, left to right:
LBCC President Greg Hamann, WOU President Rex Fuller, and HECC Executive Director Ben Cannon
LBCC President Greg Hamann and Patrick Crane, director, Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development

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About Linn-Benton Community College
More than 18,000 students rely on Linn-Benton Community College each year for higher education including career technical education, transfer degree programs, professional development, corporate training, small business development, community education classes and more. Established in 1967, LBCC serves the mid-Willamette Valley with six locations including its main campus in Albany, LBCC partners with multiple business and industries to enrich the community and support economic growth. LBCC students choose from more than 80 programs and go on to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, skilled workers and community builders.

About Western Oregon University
Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 and located in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving approximately 5,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with nearly 75 percent of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we succeed.