October 04, 2018

Wyden, Merkley Announce $525,000 Grant for Chemeketa Community College

Oregon senators say federal resources will help Hispanic students at Willamette Valley school

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Chemeketa Community College earned a $525,066 grant from a federal program that aims to help increase graduation rates for Hispanic students and to expand their educational opportunities.

The federal Education Department grant for Chemeketa comes after Wyden and Merkley pressed the school’s case in a July 17 letter.

“I’m proud to have fought for this grant so Chemeketa can continue building on its great work helping Hispanic students achieve in the classroom and graduate,” Wyden said. “The school earned this federal investment because it demonstrates daily the power of diversity in higher education by striving with its offerings to include students of all backgrounds.”

“We supported this grant application because we knew that the Hispanic students at Chemeketa Community College deserved it,” Merkley said. “As the first in my family to go to college, I know the culture shock and logistical hurdles that some of these students face. With this investment, a significant portion of the student body will have important support systems that will help pave the way for success.”

With a student body that is 27 percent Hispanic, the community college said the resources from the federal Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant program are much-needed.

“On behalf of everyone at Chemeketa, I am extremely grateful for this funding opportunity made possible by Senator Merkley’s and Senator Wyden’s advocacy,” said Julie Huckestein, President/CEO of Chemeketa Community College. “These grant dollars will directly impact Chemeketa students by increasing the support systems that improve student success and completion.  As I approach retirement in June of next year, for me, this is one of the best gifts the college could receive. This significant investment in our students and our community is incredible and we are extremely thankful.”

In addition to its main campus near Salem, Chemeketa Community College has campuses in McMinnville and education centers in Dallas, Brooks, and Woodburn.

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