OCCU expands its commitment to the PathwayOregon program

PathwayOregon students

A successful UO scholarship program designed to help lower-income Oregonians has just received a $150,000 boost — with another one on the way next year — thanks to Oregon Community Credit Union.

This most recent gift marks nearly two decades of support, including more than $2.5 million for UO scholarships benefiting hundreds of students.

On top of this renewed commitment, the credit union has pledged $40,000 to scale up a new project designed to help PathwayOregon scholars succeed. The peer mentoring program connects freshmen with returning PathwayOregon students who will help these new Ducks soar.  

OCCU logo“All of us are grateful for the ongoing support of OCCU,” PathwayOregon director Grant Schoonover said. “We see, every day, the difference donors are making for these bright, hard-working students. The credit union was the first corporate donor to establish its own fund for PathwayOregon, and it has been a loyal supporter for years. Its latest pledge will give our students important tools for success.”

PathwayOregon is a program that offers Oregonians comprehensive support as well as financial assistance. The UO started the program in 2008 to improve graduation rates and reduce indebtedness for low-income students. Thanks to donors, it has grown from its initial freshman class of 415 to a total of 2,275 students — more than 11 percent of the UO’s total undergraduate population. PathwayOregon students have demonstrated graduation rates that exceed their peers’, and they are also more likely to graduate within four years.

“PathwayOregon embodies the values and aspirations we share with the University of Oregon,” said OCCU Executive Vice President Ron Neumann. “It’s innovative and effective. It helps Oregonians succeed, which benefits all of the communities our credit union serves. We are proud to be a UO corporate partner and to contribute to a scholarship program that is helping so many Oregonians fulfill their dreams of earning a college degree.”

The credit union’s latest pledges will advance its total contributions to the UO past the $3 million mark. In addition to PathwayOregon and other scholarship programs, the organization has given generously to athletics, the renovation of Hayward Field and faculty research.

The credit union’s gift for peer mentoring will broaden the impact of the successful program, making it available to every PathwayOregon scholar. This will boost the university’s efforts to help students navigate college life, earn a degree on time and explore career possibilities, Schoonover said.

“We’re often working with first-generation college students. A little help with the basics — buying books, managing time, getting involved on campus — can make a big difference,” he said. “Usually the barriers to success have little to do with the actual coursework. Peer support can help remove those obstacles.”