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More universities sign on to Jefferson scholarship plan

Graduates of Jefferson High School may now dream about their future as a Duck, Beaver, Viking or Knight.

On Wednesday morning, leaders Oregon State University, Portland State University and Warner Pacific College announced that they were signing on as scholarship partners to the school - offering three years of tuition to eligible Jefferson graduates who earn a year of college credits.

The University of Oregon made that promise to Jefferson students in June, helping to celebrate the school's transformation from a struggling neighborhood school into a district-wide focus option program called Jefferson High School-Middle College for Advanced Studies.

'The Jefferson Middle College program is built on a solid foundation of support from Jefferson teachers, PCC faculty, and SEI mentors and staff,' Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith said Wednesday at Jefferson.

'I'm pleased that Oregon State, Portland State and Warner Pacific are turning a belief in the middle college model into scholarship opportunities for our students.'

Not every scholarship program works the same. Click here to read the PPS criteria for each program.

There are two qualifications: Students must be financially eligible for a federal Pell Grant (students with a total family income up to $50,000 may be eligible for Pell Grants, though most Pell funding goes to students with a total family income below $20,000); and students must have earned one year of transferable PCC college credits, since the scholarship covers tuition for the last three years.

Most students in the program will finish high school having earned between 12 and 45 college credits; the most ambitious students can earn an associate's degree.

The Middle College scholarships will enable credit- and income-eligible students to continue their studies, essentially for free, all the way to a bachelor's degree.

Last fall, the program expanded from an opt-in program to encompass every incoming Jefferson freshman. Students will typically spend their ninth- and 10th-grade years at Jefferson preparing for collegiate-level studies, and their 11th- and 12th-grade years taking courses at both Jefferson and PCC.

Jefferson is open to students who live within the attendance boundaries and others who may apply by lottery.

Prospective students and their parents are invited to learn more about the Middle College program at two upcoming community information nights, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 22 in the Jefferson cafeteria.

For more, visit www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/jefferson/.