Contact: Di Saunders, Cell: 503-807-5539; Office: 503-725-5714

Board of Higher Ed Approves Raising Admission Standards, Request for Sale of
$61 Million in Bonds for Capital Projects

PORTLAND, February 21 - The State Board of Higher Education (the "Board") today approved admission policy changes for three Oregon University System (OUS) campuses, and authorized the System to request the sale of $61.3 million in bonds for capital construction and renovation, among other items approved or reviewed at its two day meeting in Corvallis.

Admissions Changes

The Board approved policies today that will enable Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) and Portland State University (PSU) to increase their high school grade point average (GPA) requirement from 2.50 to 3.00 beginning with the 2004-05 academic year. Students with lower GPAs will need to have SAT or ACT scores or other indicators that demonstrate their potential for success. These admission standards were discussed extensively with student groups, academic deans and enrollment management teams, and reflect campus enrollment trends and the qualifications needed for students to be academically successful. University of Oregon (UO) affirmed setting its minimum GPA for entering freshmen at 3.25 beginning in the upcoming 2003-04 academic year (previously approved by the Board) and received approval to increase the number of high school subject requirements from 14 to 16 beginning with the 2004-05 academic year.

"We will continue to work with Oregon K-12 schools, our public universities and the Department of Education on the long term transition from using traditional admission criteria, such as GPA and SAT results, to PASS, the proficiency-based admission standards system," said Richard Jarvis, chancellor of the state's public universities. Current OUS admission policy gives students the option of using PASS proficiency "scores" to meet certain subject-area requirements, along with GPA and SAT results. "Our ultimate objective is to move PASS from providing an extra advantage to students during the admission review process to being the required standard for undergraduate admission," added Jarvis.

Bond Sale

Also voted on today by the Board was approval to request the State Treasurer to issue $61,330,500 of bonds to finance capital construction and renovation projects on five OUS campuses. The issuance of these Article XI-G bonds are part of a sale currently planned by the State Treasurer for May 2003 and have been authorized by the State Legislature or the Emergency Board of the State Legislature.

Projects recommended for the bond sale include: (1) Regional Agricultural, Health and Life Sciences Building at Eastern Oregon University (EOU) for $14.4 million; (2) Veterinary Medicine Small Animal Hospital at Oregon State University (OSU) for $4 million; (3) Northwest Engineering Science Center at PSU for $26.5 million; (4) Library expansion at Southern Oregon University (SOU) for $10 million; and Museum of Art Addition & Alteration at UO for $6.3 million.

At the System Strategic Planning Committee meeting, the Board discussed possible quality indicators - such as student retention and graduation rates, and faculty related indicators such as research grant awards and sponsored programs - that could be used to track quality at all OUS institutions. The Board continues to discuss the implications for quality as enrollments have continued to increase and state appropriations continue to decrease.

Also at today's meeting, Oregon Student Association (OSA) vice chair, Andy Saultz, asked the Board to address the issue of shared governance with students on OUS campuses. Board chair, James Lussier, said that the executive committee would take OSS's proposal under advisement and report back at the April Board meeting.

In other action at today's and yesterday's meetings, the Board:

  • Approved the annual financial statements for 2001-02 that were issued without qualification; and to assess the assignment of audit review and oversight to the Budget and Finance Committee.
  • Approved amendments to Internal Management Directives 1.305(1) and 2.001(1) that delegate authority for the establishment or elimination of schools and colleges to the Chancellor. Establishment or elimination of programs will continue to be reviewed and approved by the Board.
  • Approved PSU's request to complete the sale of two campus properties for $625,000 to Broadway Housing LLC, a corporation affiliated with the PSU Foundation; and to enter into a Housing and Academic Services Agreement with Broadway Housing to build, own and operate the building in accordance with PSU's needs for student housing, academic and ancillary retail space; and to request the Chancellor and Board to acknowledge that the PSU Foundation has established a limited liability corporate affiliate for the purpose of providing student housing services to PSU. This $49 million project will add almost 400 student-housing units on campus.
  • Approved authorization for OIT to accept the transfer of the A.A.S. degree in Emergency Medical Technology from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), effective immediately. OHSU will continue to participate in a joint role.
  • Approved authorization for the vice chancellor of finance and administration, or designee, to seek an additional $2.2 million of Other Funds limitation from the Legislature for additional costs associated with the OSU Veterinary Medicine Expansion Project.
  • Approved the OSU Intercollegiate Athletics Department Fiscal Status Report of 12-31-02.
  • Authorized the following new programs at OUS institutions: (1) OSU: M.A. in Applied Ethics; (2) SOU: B.A./B.S. in Early Childhood Development; (3) PSU: M.A./M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Authorized awarding of Honorary Degrees at June 2003 commencements by OSU to William McDonough and James Poirot; and by PSU to Kathryn Harrison.
  • Received and approved, as required, reports on: (1) tuition surcharge rates applied to students at OUS institution as a result of state mandated budget reductions; (2) the history and status of Fee Remissions at OUS institutions; (3) the OUS Fiscal Year 2004 Federal Appropriations Funding Requests, Agencies and Accounts; and (4) an update on Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS).

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, 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 eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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