A new partnership between Oregon College Savings Plan and Willamette University will allow undergraduate students to double the impact of their college savings with a dollar-for-dollar match. The new Oregon Scholars program allows the Oregon College Savings Plan to partner with state colleges and universities to offer incentives to Oregonians saving for education.
Willamette University is the first school to take part in the Oregon Scholars program. As part of this inaugural partnership, Oregon residents admitted to the Willamette University College of Liberal Arts under the ‘Willamette Savings Match’ program will receive a match of the savings in their Oregon College Savings Plan account, up to $5,000 per semester, for up to eight semesters.
Students admitted to Willamette University as undergraduates who also meet other program criteria will qualify for the college savings match. Criteria include: students must have graduated from an Oregon high school or home school; have had an active Oregon College Savings Plan account for at least four years prior to the year of enrollment (student must be listed as the beneficiary); and indicate eligibility for the matching scholarship during the application process. Future Oregon Scholars partner schools have some ability to customize their own criteria for the program.
“The Oregon Scholars program could be a game changer, helping families who are already saving for higher education while encouraging more Oregonians to start saving today,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “States can and should make it easier for everyone, especially low- and moderate-income families, to save for education and training after high school. When more kids are able to meet their educational goals with less student loan debt, that’s good for everyone.”
“As the first university established in the West in 1842, Willamette has a long history of preparing the next generation of civic-minded leaders, entrepreneurs and problem-solvers for Oregon, the nation and the world,” said Willamette University President Stephen Thorsett. “This partnership honors that history and invests in Oregon’s future, underscoring the University’s worthy mission and motto, “Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born.””
Under the banner of the new Oregon Scholars program, the ‘Willamette Savings Match’ was created to serve undergraduates, including those enrolled in one of Willamette University’s dual-degree programs, BA/MBA or BA/Law. The program does not apply to Willamette University undergraduate students who were already enrolled when the program was announced, or for students at the Willamette University College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management.
“The Oregon Scholars program and our inaugural partnership with Willamette University advance our commitment to finding ways to make a college education more accessible and affordable for all Oregon families,” said Michael Parker, executive director for the Oregon Savings Network. “This new program joins a suite of other incentives offered by the Oregon State Treasury that encourage Oregonians to save for their future.”
Oregon College Savings Plan incentives include the popular Baby Grad program, which provides $25 to Oregon College Savings Plan accounts opened for a child prior to their first birthday, and Kinder Grad, a similar $25 incentive for Kindergarten-aged children opening new college savings accounts that began last month. Close to $12 million has been saved since the official launch of Baby Grad in 2018. These are meaningful dollars saved by Oregon families for college.