PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (The Alliance), in partnership with Community and Shelter Assistance Corp. of Oregon (CASA of Oregon), today announced the launch of a new matched college savings program, “E3 – Earn, Educate, Empower.” (www.e3savings.org)

“For every dollar, up to $500 a year, that eligible students at Alliance member colleges and universities save in an individual savings account, E3 will match it with eight dollars, turning that $500 into $4,500 a year – up to $18,000 over four years,” said Kristen Grainger, President of the Alliance. “And that’s not a loan; this is real money to help pay for college.”

E3 is partially funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAssets for Independence (AFI) program. Matching funds came from the Alliance, through private gifts and institutional investments by Corban University, Pacific University and Warner Pacific University.

One in three students at one of Oregon’s private, nonprofit colleges is eligible for Pell grants, and one in three hails from demographic groups historically underrepresented on our nation’s college campuses, public and private. This program is a critical part of the Alliance’s strategy to increase college access and completion by empowering our students to save for college and reduce borrowing.

Kristen GraingerPresident, The Alliance

E3 builds on the success of the Alliance’s participation in the Matched College Savings Program (a program of CASA of Oregon). Formed in 2007, the Alliance MCSP matched student’s savings 5:1 through a combination of Assets for Independence (federal program funds), Oregon IDA, and Alliance-raised funds.

More than 300 students from Alliance member colleges and universities have participated to date.

The results of an independent 2014 evaluation of MCSP show notable success:

  • 56% of all participants report earned income that falls below the federal poverty line.
  • 63% are first generation college students.
  • More than half self-identified as members of communities of color
  • 91% of participants reported the program influenced their decision to continue attending their college.
  • 59% of participants stated they could not have attended college without the program.
  • All graduating participants finished their degree in no more than one term beyond four years.
  • 83% of students in the program cited increased personal finance skills as a program benefit. Studies show strong statistical correlation between assets and savings and college entrance. All participants in the MCSP began the habit of savings—setting aside an average of $54 per month.
  • MCSP lowers financial barriers for undocumented students who are ineligible for many forms of aid.
  • 41% said that the MCSP in influenced their decision to attend their college.
  • 50% said the MCSP helped them plan their college courses.

About The Alliance

The Alliance represents 18 of Oregon’s regionally accredited, nonprofit private higher education institutions. Together, Alliance colleges and universities enroll more than 35,000 students, conferring approximately one in four baccalaureate degrees and about half of the master’s and doctoral degrees awarded in Oregon. Twenty-eight percent of graduates complete their degrees with zero debt; average debt for those students who graduate with debt is on par with the national and Oregon average.