Hispanic Committee Hears from Education Leaders

Kris Mulvihill Eastern Promise
Kris Mulvihill explains how high school students can earn college credit while still in high school during this week's Hispanic Advisory Committee meeting.

The Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee (HAC) has focused much of its attention this year on the issue of education and this week’s meeting continued that trend with presentations by Blue Mountain Community College as well as the Eastern Promise.

Kris Mulvihill, K-12 program director for Eastern Promise, explained to the committee how area high school students can earn college credit while still in high school and save significant money toward earning their college degree.

“Eastern Promise has two main goals,” Mulvihill said. “The first is to grow a college-going culture; and the second is to increase access to affordable college credits in high school.”

Eastern Promise is a partnership between Eastern Oregon University, Blue Mountain and Treasure Valley Community Colleges, the InterMountain Education Service District and more than 30 school districts in Eastern Oregon. Its mission is to get students and their families to start thinking of attending college by the time they’re in the fifth grade.

The program offers college-level credits to high school students at a fraction of what it costs while attending college. For example, the cost of a single college credit for college students can range from $270 at a community college up to nearly $550 at Oregon State University. The cost for a college credit for a high school student is just $10. When looking at the bigger picture, a full year (about 45 credits) at Oregon State University will cost most college students as much as $24,500 per year. If a student were to earn that many classes in a year while still in high school, it would cost them just $450.

Mulvihill showed the HAC members a video of a Hermiston student who came to the United States while in the fifth grade unable to speak English. By the end of his senior year, he will have almost a year’s worth of college credit he earned while in high school.

Mulvihill said it’s much more difficult for people to find good-paying jobs these days without some sort of college education.

‘We want our kids to get a degree so they can earn more money so they can support themselves,” she said.

For more information, visit the Eastern Promise website.

Also at this week’s HAC meeting was BMCC President Cam Preus, who shared with the committee information on a $300,000 Meyer Memorial Trust grant the college received to create a program to provide classes for farm workers, particularly those who do not speak English. Courses would also be available in precision agriculture.

Preus expects the college will begin offering the program next fall.

HAC Chairman Eddie de la Cruz lauded BMCC for its efforts in helping the Hispanic community.

“We all deserve an education,” he said. “BMCC is doing a great job providing us with opportunities.”

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