Administrators at Oregon State University say they’re planning to turn the school’s Cascades campus into a full-fledged 4 year facility within the next three years. OSU President Ed Ray made the announcement in a speech at the City Club of Central Oregon.
Discussions are still in the early phases. But Ray says the expansion will be necessary in order to meet a state goal of having a 40 percent of Oregonians with at least a bachelor's degree by 2025.
Ray says to be successful OSU will need to add 35,000 to 40,000 students. And he says he can't squeeze all those new students into desks at Corvallis.
“For me an obvious answer is to have 3000 to 5000 maybe even more Oregon State University students here at our branch campus in Bend.”
Ray says early discussions have centered around launching the first 4 year programs in areas where the school already offers degrees. He says additional degrees could follow if there's enough demand. Ray admits the prospect of adding that many students will present its share of challenges.
“That gets you into issues of staffing, operating funds, you’ve got to do the financials, physical space. Where are you going to be located? Can you house the programs you’re going to be offering? We’ve got to work on all of those things,” Ray said.
Today’s students take introductory classes at neighboring Central Oregon Community College as part of a collaboration between the schools. Today Ray reiterated his commitment to that partnership.
40 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or another post-secondary degree. And at least 20 percent of adults will have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent.
that in order for that to happen, so too will an expansion at OSU Cascades.