Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 59.16
Liaison Rebecca Walker
Submission Date Feb. 6, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Southern Oregon University
PAE-10: Affordability and Access Programs

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator
Facilities Management & Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of the institution’s participation in federal TRIO programs:

SOU hosts two TRiO programs: Student Support Services, which serves 190 undergraduates each year; and the Ronald E McNair Post Baccalaureate program, which serves students in graduate school. Both programs provide academic support services to low-income students who are the first in their families to attain Bachelor's degrees.

A brief description of the institution’s policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students?:

SOU is committed to providing quality education at an affordable cost for citizens of its service area. Examples of institutional policies and programs that help keep an SOU education accessible to our low-income students include:
• Waiving the Application fee for low-income prospective SOU students upon the request of their high school guidance counselor;
• Deferral of the Matriculation Fee until financial aid has been disbursed to students;
• Approximately $2 million in institutional tuition remission programs (scholarships) awarded annually based on financial need;
• Availability of Federal need-based financial aid funds, including low-interest Perkins loans;
• No charge for academic support programs and services, including tutoring, writing assistance, academic and career advising.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to equip the institution's faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

Many SOU faculty and staff members work collaboratively with the TRiO program staff to help student's succeed in college. Further, staff and faculty referrals are a primary method of recruiting students into the TRiO programs.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

The Student Success Initiatives Program serves students from low-income backgrounds through case management and services offered through the First Year Mentor Program (FYMP), and the Community of Recovery Program (CORPS). Individual students who are struggling with any significant barrier to academic, personal, or social success may be referred for case management through the Student Success Initiatives Program. They may then be referred for participation in the First Year Mentor Program or the Community of Recovery Program at Southern (CORPS) depending on their specific needs. The FYMP serves first year students who are struggling with making social connections or having difficulty transitioning into university life. Students from low-income backgrounds are specifically invited to participate in FYMP, as it allows them to develop a relationship with a successful upper-class mentor. A special email invitation is sent to students with zero expected family contribution and students who enter the institution in an independent status. Students who are in recovery are encouraged to participate in the CORPS Program, including many students coming to the institution from low-income backgrounds. This provides an intentional community of support, relapse prevention, and recovery protections.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

All students whose completed FAFSA applications are processed by the Federal Processor on or before March 1 and who have applied for admission to SOU are considered for the nearly $2 million in institutional tuition remissions (scholarships). These remissions range in amount from $600 to $3,000 per year. Students are ranked according to Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The Financial Aid Office uses "Federal Methodology": the standard, federally approved method for determining what funds the family (parent and/or student) should have available to meet the year's educational costs. The EFC is subtracted from the standard student budget for the academic year, and the remaining figure is considered the student's financial eligibility. Students with the lowest family contribution (EFC) are awarded campus-based funds until those funds are fully committed. (The Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans and the Pell Grant remain available all year.)

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

Preview Days and Raider Registration Programs are designed to assist both students and parents through the process of beginning a successful university experience. Financial Aid staff visit area high schools and offer information about programs for families on financial aid programs and how to apply, and individual families are encouraged to make appointments to meet with financial aid counselors if they need assistance. Some programs are offered in Spanish for those who are more comfortable in that language.

For the 2013 -14 Academic Year, we will also be providing some Financial Literacy Sessions for students and families during registration events.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

In addition to the college tour and our regular high school visitation program, SOU participates in the GEAR-UP program, and is connected to all of the regional Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs that work with low-income and/or first generation students who aspire to attend college.

SOU also has a Pipeline Program entitled Pirates to Raiders to provide outreach and recruitment to local Latino youth, including hosting a Latino Family Day Program in the Spring. SOU also visit local reservations to provide information on the institution and recruit students and hosts an Overnight Visit Program for underrepresented students.

A brief description of the institution’s other admissions policies and programs:

SOU Admissions hosts four preview programs each year with two being day events and two being overnight events. One of the overnight events is specifically designed for under-represented minority students. On- and off-campus partnerships help make this particular event valuable for under-represented students in the Rogue Valley.

A brief description of the institution’s other financial aid polices or programs:

Financial aid at Southern Oregon University consists of scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study employment. Applying nine months ahead of time is the key to being considered for many of these funds.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs not covered above:

The website URL where information about programs in each of the areas listed above is available:

The registration schedule including the Students of Color Reception and financial aid information session entitled "Navigating the Money Maze" can be found at http://www.sou.edu/rr/schedule.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.