“Statewide Snapshots” Highlight Affordability Challenges and Inequities in Student Success for Oregon Public College Students

May 10, 2019 / Jose Padin

Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Media Contact: Endi Hartigan, Communications Director

May 2, 2019


These one-page data summaries for every public college and university in Oregon explore enrollment, affordability, and outcomes for resident students in 2017-18.


Salem, Oregon | Oregon residents’ widespread need for education and training beyond high school is met primarily at public colleges and universities, but many Oregonians face affordability challenges and serious inequities in finishing their programs. These and other insights are evident in the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s (HECC) second annual Statewide Snapshots, a set of 27 one-page reader-friendly data summaries. Using clear data graphics, the Snapshots answer frequently asked data questions on three topics of high interest in higher education today―enrollment, affordability, and outcomes―with a focus on underrepresented populations among all Oregon resident students in 2017-18. 

By clicking on the locations of interest on the Oregon map here, readers can explore all Snapshots including the aggregate statewide data summaries (the statewide summary, community college summary, and public university summary), as well as 24 individual Snapshots for each of Oregon’s public postsecondary education institutions. Among other findings, the research shows considerable disparities in graduation rates for Oregon students of color and for first-generation students compared to their peers. 

Ben Cannon, executive director of the HECC, says, “Oregon resident students—our children, families, friends, and neighbors—rely on the quality postsecondary options our public institutions offer. The Snapshots show the magnitude of impact our public institutions have on hundreds of thousands of students, but also shine a light on serious barriers to and disparities in college access and success, particularly for students of color. These findings are a call to action for everyone working in education. We need to ensure that Oregonians from every background and zip code can build the successful future they depend on, and our communities depend on.” 

The Snapshots illustrate that Oregon’s 24 public community colleges and universities continue to open doors of opportunity, enrolling more than 330,799 Oregon undergraduates in 2017-18 of diverse ages, races/ethnicities and backgrounds, who pursue a wide variety of instructional fields on their pathways from college to career. However, Oregonians served by public postsecondary institutions continue to face steep challenges. Affordability challenges are pervasive, with 42 percent of resident students unable to meet college expenses even after taking into account expected family contributions, public grants, and estimated student earnings. While graduation rates have been slowly increasing over time, large percentages of students do not complete degrees or certificates or transfer in the standard time periods: 48% of new credential-seeking community college students graduate with a credential or transfer to a university within four years, and 65% of first-time, full-time university freshmen graduate within six years. And finally, as noted, the research shows significant disparities in graduation rates by race and ethnicity, research that is driving a continued statewide focus on equity and student success. For a summary of statewide findings, see the Statewide Snapshot Fact Sheet here

The Statewide Snapshots are developed annually by HECC’s Office of Research and Data. First released in 2018, the Snapshots are unique in bringing a consistent set of metrics to both 2- and 4-year institutions, and introducing new meaningful measures for affordablity and transfer student success, among others. The Statewide Snapshots released today include some new refinements from the 2018 format, including new information on the large percentage of enrollees who are high school students taking dual-credit courses, the percentage of students taking out student loans, and other changes. 

Dr. Amy Cox, director of research and data for the HECC, says, “We invite all—from students to administrators to parents to policymakers—to spend time delving into the rich information in these reports, to help us collectively work together to find the best strategies to better serve all Oregon students. We thank Oregon’s public institution leaders, who worked with us to share data and refine the metrics, allowing us to feature the unique role each college and university plays in fostering postsecondary success for the students of our state.” 




The State of Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) envisions a future in which all Oregonians—and especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized—benefit from the transformational power of high-quality postsecondary education and training. For more information, go to


Click here for link to the Press Release

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