The Association of Public Land-grant Universities announced on July 17 that Portland State has been awarded $225,000 as part of the association’s Transformation Planning Grant. The grant, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and designed by the APLU, provides funds to seven universities across the nation in order to further efforts in improving the quality of education.
The other recipients are Florida International University, Fresno State University, Georgia State University, Temple University, University of Akron and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
At PSU, the grant will be instrumental in the development of the reTHINK PSU initiative and the Four-Year Degree Guarantee, said Director of Communications Scott Gallagher.
“Essentially what [the Four-Year Degree Guarantee] says is [that] if you come in to PSU as a freshman and you’re willing to declare your major and sign a contract with us saying that if you take these classes, at this time, in four years we guarantee you’ll be done—provided you pass the classes,” Gallagher said. “And if you don’t get all the classes you need, and you’ve done everything right, and say, you need to go an extra quarter or two, then you don’t have to pay for it.”
Gallagher said that this coming fall term is the first time students will be able to sign up for the Four-Year Degree Guarantee. He said that of the approximate 1,500 incoming freshman already 100 students have signed up for it.
The Four-Year Degree Guarantee is one of many projects under the reTHINK PSU initiative that launched in 2012.
“All of this is an effort to help make college more affordable and to help students get through faster,” Gallagher said. “When you look at it, it helps keep their student debt down, it helps get them into the workplace faster, and it prevents some students who can get slowed down or who are at risk for not finishing by providing them as many opportunities as possible to get through.”
More information on reTHINK PSU can be found at rethink.pdx.edu