SALEM, Ore. – Thousands of Oregon college students will be denied grants next year because the state went over its budget.
In February, the Student Assistance Commission announced it went over its $67 million budget by $10 million. Now, insiders say the overage could be as much as $19 million.
The commission is in charge of the need-based grant called the "Oregon Opportunity Grant."
We're told Gov. Ted Kulongoski is upset with the commission, which he appoints. He has told the press that he is "disturbed" by the overcommitment and its impact on the program's credibility.
Dave McDonald, associate provost at Western Oregon, said the action will cost Western Oregon university about $150,000 from its reserves. "Since Oregon Opportunity students have the highest financial need, we felt it was our moral obligation to step up and take care of them," he said.
University of Oregon also will provide almost $340,000 to help students whose Oregon Opportunity Grant funding has been cut.
Other institutions however, particularly community colleges, lack the money to take that step. Statewide, more than 30,000 college students who receive an Oregon Opportunity Grant will get less money from the state than they were told to expect last year as a result of these cuts.