The State of Oregon mandates that colleges maintain responsibility for the quality of programs. Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 341.009 Policy (italic text below) is the central section. See the full text of ORS Chapter 341 Community Colleges at


(1) The community college is an educational institution which is intended to fill the institutional gap in education by offering broad, comprehensive programs in academic as well as professional technical subjects. It is primarily designed to provide associate or certificate degree programs for some, serve a transitional purpose for others who will continue baccalaureate or other college work, provide the ability to enter the workforce immediately and serve to determine future educational needs for other students. It can provide means for continuation of academic education, career and technical training or the attainment of entirely new skills as demands for old skills and old occupations are supplanted by new technologies. It may also provide the means to coordinate courses and programs with high schools to enhance and to accommodate successful transition to college degree programs.


(2) Each community college should be so located as to be within commuting time of a substantial majority of its students. As an economical method of providing education close to the student’s home, the community college should remain a commuting institution.


(3) The community college should establish its organizational patterns to maintain a unique quality of flexibility and the ability to change to meet changing needs.

Scope of Programming

(4) The community college is a post-high-school institution under the general supervision of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. It should not be a “starter” institution intended to evolve into a four year baccalaureate institution. It should be concerned with programs terminating before reaching the baccalaureate degree.

(5) The community college should continue to be prohibited by law from becoming a baccalaureate degree granting institution.


(6) Admission to the community college should be open to high school graduates or to non-high school graduates who can profit from the instruction offered.

Preparation for a Baccalaureate

(7) There should be close cooperation between those directing the community college program and those responsible for higher education, so that lower division college transfer programs of the community college will provide adequate preparation for entering baccalaureate degree granting programs, and so that students will be able to transfer with a minimum of difficulty.

Duplication of Effort

(8) The community college should offer as comprehensive a program as the needs and resources of the area which it serves dictate. Cost to student and quality of instruction in established private institutions should be among the factors in determining necessary duplication of effort.

High School Collaboration

(9) It should be the policy of the community college to open its facilities and make available its resources to the high schools of its area on a sound contractual basis, for appropriate secondary or transitional courses, either academic or career and technical, when it is within its ability to provide facilities and it is determined that the high school cannot or does not offer them.

Programming Based on Area Needs

(10) Programs designed to meet the needs of the area served should be based on the actual educational and service needs of the district. Specific career and technical courses should be related not only to the employment opportunities of the area but of the state and nation as well. Such determination should be made in consultation with representatives of labor, business, industry, agriculture and other interested groups.

Higher Education Coordinating Commission

(11) The Higher Education Coordinating Commission should be responsible for coordinating the community college program of the state and should have general supervisory responsibilities for that program. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission should prepare estimates and make the requests for legislative appropriations for a reasonable and consistent basis of support and establish standards for the distribution of that support.

​Local Community Involvement

(12) The initiative for the establishment of new community colleges should come from the localities to be served, as a response to demonstrated educational needs of an area. However, these localities must not only be willing to assume the responsibility for the institutions but must be able to provide resources needed for an adequate educational and service program.

​College Governing Board

(13) The governing board of the community college should be charged with the policy making function. With respect to educational programming, the governing board should in cooperation with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission: (a) Identify educational needs of the district; and (b) Bring together the resources necessary to meet the needs.

(14) The state should maintain a policy of substantial state participation in community college building costs and the maintenance of an adequate level of state support for operation. However, no state funds should be appropriated for buildings such as dormitories or athletic facilities for spectator sports. The district should provide a substantial portion of the funds for capital improvement as well as for operation of a community college.

(15) State appropriations for community colleges shall be made separately from those for other segments of education.

(16) The formula for the distribution of funds for operating costs should reflect the heavier operating costs and capital outlay for certain career and technical courses. Federal funds received for career and technical training, adult basic education, workforce development or other federal initiatives should be used for those purposes only and be distributed separately from funds appropriated by the state and should be exempted from the computations of the present distribution formula for operating costs.

(17) The cost of education to the individual should be sufficiently low to permit students of low-income families to attend. This is particularly true of tuition costs. However, students should pay an amount sufficient to provide an incentive to profit from the instructional program offered.

(18) Any eligible Oregon resident should have the right to attend a community college even though not residing in a district operating one, subject to the right of the governing board to limit the size of classes and to give preference to students residing in the district. Local school districts and education service districts should have the authority to negotiate the terms and conditions with the governing boards for the enrollment of students residing in such areas.

ORS 341.009 Policy [1971 c.513 §97; 1993 c.45 §130; 1995 c.67 §2; 2007 c.858 §36; 2009 c.94 §12; 2011 c.637 §122; 2013 c.747 §44].

Additional information on ​community college roles and responsibilities regarding Advertising Programs and Instructor Qualifications appear ​on the following pages in this Handbook.