Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) has just opened the gates for eligible high school students to apply for its best-kept secret: the Gorge Scholars program.
Applications will be accepted until July 1 for this unique tuition-waiver program that awards students a chance to attend CGCC for up to two years and receive 18 college credits per term for free.
“The impact and potential this program has for our students, their families and the community is really quite incredible when you consider that we’re basically providing a quality education at no cost to them,” says Loren Mason-Gere, CGCC’s academic advisor. “While students will have to cover the costs of their own books, fees and miscellaneous expenses, tuition is waived as long as they meet and maintain our Gorge Scholar eligibility requirements.”
Applications for the Gorge Scholar program are now available in PDF format on the Gorge Scholar website. Here, students may learn what’s needed for their application packets, which must be submitted in person to Student Services at either of the college’s two campuses in The Dalles or Hood River (Indian Creek Campus). Both the application and website also outline key eligibility requirements and the expectations.
For example, Gorge Scholar applicants must meet various criteria, including having graduated from a high school within CGCC’s service area or be a registered homeschool student living within the service area of an eligible high school. They need a cumulative, unweighted high school GPA of 3.5 or better and must have earned the required minimum scores on CGCC’s placement test or equivalent as outlined on the Gorge Scholars webpage. (Homeschooled students must earn a minimum composite ACT score of 27 or SAT combined score of 1200.)
They must also enroll for full time (12-18) credits at CGCC in fall term immediately following high school graduation or diploma completion. Graduates who join the military within three months of graduating will retain eligibility if they enroll at CGCC within six months of being discharged.
Once accepted into the program, Gorge Scholars must continue to earn the reward they’re receiving. The program requires these students to keep their eligibility by continuously enrolling (fall, winter and spring terms) in at least 12 credits, maintain a CGCC GPA of 3.25 or better, and perform eight hours of documented community service.
“The program’s core goal is to empower a significant number of young adults to not just work toward achieving their dreams but afford to achieve their dreams,” says Lori Ufford, CGCC’s chief academic and student affairs officer. “Gorge Scholars caters to students with a proven track record for success and who see value pursuing their associate’s degree from CGCC.”
Columbia Gorge Community College is committed to offering Gorge Scholar tuition waivers for at least two years, but reserves the right to modify or terminate the program at any time. At the end of the pilot period, CGCC will conduct an analysis and determine the future of the program. Applications and more information may be found on the Gorge Scholars webpage.