OSAC Leadership Change
November 1, 2012
As many of our valued partners and stakeholders already know, OSAC's Executive Director, Josette Green, resigned her position, effective October 19, 2012. In accepting her resignation, the Commission acknowledged and thanked Josette for her work over the past two years in moving OSAC forward. Josette's passion, energy, and commitment to OSAC's mission were evident to all who worked with her. Clearly, OSAC has improved in many ways during her tenure. In response to Josette's resignation, the Commission unanimously approved two interim appointments—Bob Brew as Interim Executive Director and Vic Nunenkamp as Interim Chief Operating Officer.
Commissioners felt it was imperative that OSAC's Interim Executive Director be someone familiar with government operations, the state budget process, and the workings of the legislative and executive branches. We believe that Bob Brew best fits this imperative: he has many years in public service working in local municipal government, state government, and with elected officials. The Commission also felt strongly that OSAC needed to have someone familiar with work of our staff and knowledgeable about OSAC's programs in a lead operations position. Vic Nunenkamp is that person. She has considerable management and operations experience in both the public sector and the private sector.
Vic and Bob are a strong leadership team. We are confident that they will give us our best opportunity to be successful in the months ahead. We also have great confidence in OSAC's staff. Over the years they have all demonstrated a consistent commitment to our work with students and Oregon's postsecondary institutions. Our expectation is to work with the interim leadership team through the 2013 legislative session and then undertake a process for the permanent appointment of an Executive Director. Please give your support to both Bob and Vic as they take on their new assignments.
Gary K. Weeks, Chair, Oregon Student Access Commission
OSAC Launches New Online Scholarship Application
OSAC's newly redesigned scholarship application will be available online shortly at the OSAC website - www.OregonStudentAid.gov. This initial launch includes a brand new user interface and features that will make the application process simpler, faster, and more accurate for users. A new search-engine and filtering functions will help students determine more quickly which of the 450 scholarships OSAC administers may best align with their backgrounds and interests.
As before, students will be able to create their application (or refresh a previous year's application) and save their work, so they can resume working on their application later and submit their application only when it's complete. When refreshing a previous application, OSAC recommends that students confirm or update their contact information, activities chart and personal statements because selection committees often monitor the progress of repeat applicants.
The online Student Profile is now a "dashboard-style" hub where students store their personal information (contact info, college choice, personal and family details), and link to all aspects of the application, including the scholarship search, activities chart, four personal statements, school history, and scholarship-specific essays. Students will answer a series of questions as they create their "Profile," and those answers will help determine which scholarships will be recommended for them, based on eligibility criteria for each.
The number one reason for a rejected application is the submission of incomplete transcripts. Students should not submit an application until they can provide the appropriate transcript(s). Detailed instructions are available on the OSAC website and are embedded in the application to help applicants determine which transcripts to submit and what constitutes a "complete" transcript.
For 2013-14 scholarships, the Early Bird deadline is February 15, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., and the final deadline for all materials to be submitted is March 1, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. In order to compete for scholarships, students must monitor their applications online to be sure they are accepted and valid and resolve any errors before the final deadline.
Check the OSAC website (www.OregonStudentAid.gov) for the official release date.
Changes for OSAC Highlights
In this November 2012 issue of OSAC Highlights, we are introducing several changes that we hope readers will appreciate. Going forward, our newsletter will become a quarterly publication with issues scheduled to be released in November, February, May, and August. Moving to a quarterly cycle will allow us to focus more thoroughly on timely issues and events of interest in college access programs around Oregon.
Although we will have fewer editions of OSAC Highlights, we plan to include articles with more details and information. And, we are adding a new feature that profiles a scholarship donor or program volunteer.
Lane County's Path to 40-40-20
Greg Darnieder, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education on the College Access Initiative, is visiting Eugene on November 1 and 2 to discuss how state and local organizations can work toward college access. In partnership with several local and statewide organizations, OSAC and the Springfield School District will co-host an event on November 2 to inspire partnerships and develop a plan for how organizations in Lane County can collaborate to help achieve Oregon's 40-40-20 goal by increasing college access. This event will take place at the Springfield School District Building. For details, contact Lori Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hope is that this strategic planning day will become a model that can be implemented in other Oregon counties. Event partners include Oregon University System, The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education, Oregon Mentors, United Way of Lane County, Springfield School District, Oregon College Access Network, Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), and the Oregon Community Foundation.
Redesigning the OOG Award Process
At its meeting on October 18, the Oregon Opportunity Grant Advisory Group considered a variety of proposals for changing the long-standing first-come, first-served process for awarding Oregon Opportunity Grants. Proposals from the Education Funding Team of the Oregon Education Investment Board, the Task Force on Higher Education Student and Institutional Success, and others include the following: awarding students closest to completion first, "front-loading" aid during students' first 2 years, providing more certainty to continuing students, and prioritizing underserved populations or students in targeted subject areas. Over the coming months, OSAC will develop a white paper on this issue, with recommendations and analysis of all options explored.
ASPIRE Fall Conference 2012
ASPIRE coordinators and volunteers from ASPIRE sites across Oregon gathered together on October 6, 2012, for the annual ASPIRE Fall Conference. This year's conference took place at the University of Oregon in the beautiful Frohnmayer Music Building.
Throughout the day, participants attended workshops and training sessions. Training sessions provided detailed information about Career Information Systems, Essay Writing, Ford Scholarships, Working with the Latino Population, Foster Youth Tuition Waiver (HB 3471), College Admissions, and Volunteer Recruitment. Workshops focused on the OSAC Scholarship Application and the financial aid process.
We would like to extend a special thank you to all of the ASPIRE coordinators and volunteers who participated in the conference. They are truly the core of the ASPIRE program, and it's because of their hard work and dedication that events like the ASPIRE Fall Conference and the ASPIRE program are so successful.
If you are interested in participating in the ASPIRE program, please visit www.oregonstudentaid.gov/aspire.aspx for more information about the program, how to get involved as an ASPIRE volunteer, and ways to become an ASPIRE site.
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Janet Stafford
OSAC's program recipients are Oregon's future. We hope that by getting to know their stories, our readers will understand the significant impact OSAC's programs make for students seeking further education beyond high school.
Major: Family and Human Services
College/University: University of Oregon
Future Goals: Working with troubled youth
OSAC-Administered Awards: Ford Opportunity Scholarship, David Family Scholarship, Harry Ludwig Memorial Scholarship, EA & BP Meyer Scholarship, and Salem Foundation's Ansel & Marie Solie Scholarship; Oregon Opportunity Grant
On January 5, 2006, Janet Stafford's life changed forever. "On the way to see my first grandchild being born, a drunk driver hit our car," she wrote in her OSAC scholarship application. "I'm now legally blind and can't read or write without a computer." Her motivation to return to school arose from a combination of losing her eyesight, inspiration from the Oregon Commission for the Blind, and providing for seven children, including two adopted special-needs children. Stafford has proudly maintained a 4.10 GPA while concurrently interning for the Department of Youth Services in the juvenile justice system. "I feel like I have a gift working with troubled youth," she said, "and I want to help them turn their lives around."
Stafford credits her academic success in part to the scholarships she earned from five different programs administered at OSAC. Her scholarships, along with the Oregon Opportunity Grant, have helped her by "allowing me not to stress over finances, and allowing me to get technology, scribes and transportation to help accommodate for my vision impairment."
"My advice to all students," said Stafford, "is to follow your dreams, and take time to apply for the OSAC scholarships so that you might not have to repay so much money when you finish your education. It only takes a few hours, and it can really pay off."
INSPIRING DONORS: CSM James Dale Branner
Scholarships are often created to honor a beloved family member. The recently established CSM James Dale Branner Faith Scholarship proves that a commitment to education can have a lasting imprint on family.
James Dale Branner demonstrated his passion for higher education to his children by showing, not telling. In fact, he completed an online locksmith course when he was eighty years old, simply to learn something new and interesting. Branner spoke to his three boys about the importance of education, but he was never overbearing, choosing instead to let his actions speak for him.
Family members established the CSM James Dale Branner Faith Scholarship this year to commemorate their father's devotion to education, community, and faith. The scholarship provides Oregon residents who have lived and worked in diverse environments an opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education.
Branner attended various schools near the military bases where he served during his 30 years in the U.S. Army, ultimately completing a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the State of New York in 1994. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major, the highest noncommissioned officer rank.
Following their father's example, Branner's three sons have all completed college degrees. His son, Ricky, recalled his father taking him to the local bank to show him the importance of keeping documents safe. "My Dad kept copies of all of our college degrees, and his degrees in the safety deposit box," he said. "They were just copies of pieces of paper, but it is what they stood for that he considered precious, and something that you protect as valuable as money. I understood. No words needed."
Susan Degen, Administrator for State Grants and Government Affairs, is the new co-chair of the Ed Tech Committee for the National Association of State Scholarship and Grant Aid Programs (NASSGAP). She also chairs the Legislative committee and serves as OSAC's Liaison for the Oregon Association of State Financial Aid Administrators.
Lori Ellis, ASPIRE & Outreach Administrator, was recently elected Board President for the Oregon College Access Network.
OSAC EVENTS CALENDAR
November 13, 14, or 15 -- College Night in Oregon (go to www.CollegeNights.org for dates and locations)
November 30 -- OSAC Commission meeting
December 13 -- OOG Advisory Group meeting
January 11 -- OSAC Commission meeting
January 2013 -- College Goal Oregon (go to www.collegegoaloregon.gov/ for dates and locations)
For more information, please visit www.oregonstudentaid.gov/calendar.aspx