Partnership Brief--Working Together:
Oregon State University and Community College Partnerships


Kate Peterson
Associate Provost, Enrollment Management

Dave King
Associate Provost, Outreach and Engagement

Working together, Oregon State University (OSU) and the community colleges of Oregon have an opportunity for increasingly positive impact on learner success across our state. This brief provides a discussion of current options.  

OSU has a long history of collaboration with Oregon’s community colleges and their local communities. Through dialogue and shared values between OSU and our community college partners, OSU’s role has developed and clarified. A standard yet flexible approach to working relationships has proven successful in enhancing educational opportunities that are customized to local conditions. The following two examples provide a foundation to initiate conversations at new sites. These programs are considered best practices in support of Oregon’s 40-40-20 initiative. 

Degree Partnership Programs

The Degree Partnership Program (DPP) began with Linn-Benton Community College in 1999 and now includes all 17 Oregon community colleges. Through these agreements, students are dually admitted to Oregon State and the partner institution. Student benefits include:

  • Community Colleges have lower tuition costs
  • Simultaneous relationships with advisers at OSU and community college
  • One application and one application fee
  • Financial aid counts enrollment at both institutions for the same term (for qualified students)
  • Dual enrollment at OSU and the community college, which leads to increased flexibility in scheduling and access to more classes at the community college, on-site at OSU, and with courses offered online through OSU Ecampus
  • Access to libraries, computer labs and other services on both campuses
  • Transcripts automatically sent from the partner college to OSU at the end of each term

Our research shows DPP students have higher completion rates, higher grade point averages, and accumulate fewer credits at graduation than transfer students. In addition to savings on educational costs, time to graduation is reduced. Students enhance their career opportunities and advance their goals.

The consistent approach of the Degree Partnership Program, developed over years of experience with our partners, provides the infrastructure to implement innovative academic programs whether delivered face-to-face or online.

OSU Open Campus

The OSU Open Campus initiative serves as a convener of community partners who address educational needs unique to individual Oregon communities. Under the Open Campus banner, OSU partners with K-12 schools, community colleges, businesses and local governments to provide and coordinate educational opportunities – both credit and noncredit – that specifically meet the unique needs of individual communities. As Oregon’s land grant university and the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and Community Engagement classification, OSU is a logical choice to address these issues. Open Campus and DPP goals match and support Oregon legislative goals :  college and career readiness, increased off-campus degree completion, and improved local economic development and business vitality.

OSU Ecampus: Online courses and degrees

Through comprehensive online degree and certificate programs, Oregon State Ecampus provides learners with access to a high-quality OSU education no matter where they live. All Ecampus programs and courses are developed by world-class OSU faculty using innovative course delivery strategies. All Ecampus graduates receive the same transcript and diploma as Oregon State's on-campus students.


Due to the quality and strength of its programs, OSU Ecampus has been top-ranked nationally by several publications as one of America’s best providers of online education. In January 2015, the Ecampus online bachelor’s programs were ranked No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The recognition was based on student engagement; faculty credentials and training; peer reputation; and student services and technology.


Currently, Ecampus delivers 19 undergraduate and 22 graduate programs online, including a bachelor’s in business administration, online chemistry classes and labs, and a variety of foreign languages.

Other customized opportunities

Based upon unique circumstances, OSU and community college leadership can jointly pursue programs not explicitly contained in the above models. Examples might include:

  • Experiential learning projects in the community for OSU students. (e.g. internships, community service projects, volunteering with schools and community organizations)
  • Mutually written proposals in pursuit of resources to address community and regional issues
  • Pilot projects that demonstrate community-engaged activities
  • 4 + 1 master’s programs that provide a one-year master’s degree during the fifth year of study
  • OSU’s Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), which offers web-based learning modules, courses, workshops and other services

 To pursue additional activities, conversations should begin between community college leadership and the relevant OSU Regional Administrator: