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Susanne Smith, 503-947-5637

February 24, 2011

Higher Ed Board Approves Automatic University Admission for High School Students Exceeding New Oregon Diploma Standards

PORTLAND – Today the State Board of Higher Education’s Committee on Academic Strategies approved an automatic admission policy that will recognize students’ accomplishments in exceeding new high school Oregon Diploma standards. While these standards in reading, writing and math will be phased in by all Oregon public high schools between 2012 and 2014, excelling in all three areas beginning in 2012 will gain students automatic admission to at least one Oregon University System institution.

OUS chancellor, George Pernsteiner, said, “This is an exciting, major step in aligning the new high school diploma standards with admission requirements in Oregon’s public universities. There are several pathways to admission, and this adds a new system-wide one that recognizes students who have exceeded this new, more rigorous standard of achievement in high school. We appreciate all the work of the State Boards of Education and Higher Education, and the ODE and OUS staff, who have worked in collaboration to recognize hard working high school students who demonstrate a skill level that will enable them to be successful in college.”

Automatic admission to at least one public university in Oregon will be granted to students who meet the new Oregon Diploma course requirements at a GPA level of at least 3.4, and who excel in reading, writing, and math based on the SAT, ACT, or the state’s OAKS test results. Other assessments may be added over time if they are shown to be predictors of student success at OUS institutions.

“Student performance in high school is directly linked to future success in college and career,” said Susan Castillo, state superintendent of public instruction. “Students who work hard and excel in high school can now gain automatic admission to an Oregon university – an important first step in aligning our high school graduation expectations to the level of proficiency that is needed to succeed in college-level studies.”

Automatic admission will be an additional option within the current process of applying to an Oregon public university. Students can still enroll through regular admission standards, through other comprehensive review processes and special admittance reviews as well. “This new admissions process will not shut out any students, but will give high performing students one more pathway into Oregon’s universities that recognizes their academic achievements,” said Joe Holliday, assistant vice chancellor for student success initiatives. In all admission pathways, students will still apply by completing the regular, campus specific admissions application, and can select the option of being considered for system-wide automatic admission.

Over the last 10 years, the state has held the 40-40-20* educational attainment goals as a high mark to reach so that Oregon has a highly educated workforce that can retain and attract companies and jobs, and ensure that the state is competitive in the global, borderless economy in which it now operates. (*40% of Oregonians with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40% with a certificate or associate’s degree, and 20% with a high school diploma and ready for the workplace.)

Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council and former chair of the Board of Education, said, “This is a great step forward for Oregon in a long time effort to increase the skills proficiency of high school graduates and align that with the academic standards at our universities. This is something that the business community has been seeking for years so that students have the broad skill levels they need to contribute in the work place and ensure success in college.”

For high school students who will graduate in 2012, they will have to meet the new high school Oregon Diploma standards in reading; for those graduating in 2013, they will have to meet both reading and writing; and for those who graduate in 2014 will have to meet reading, writing, and math. To be considered for automatic admission to OUS, students will have to exceed proficiency in all 3 subject areas beginning in 2012.

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, 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.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo and the Oregon Department of Education provide statewide leadership for all elementary and secondary students in Oregon's public school districts and education service districts. Responsibility also extends to public preschool programs, the state School for the Deaf, regional programs for children with disabilities and education programs in Oregon youth corrections facilities.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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Salem, OR 97310-0203

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