Students will take general courses in Ashland before transferring to Eugene as students of the University of Oregon.

EUGENE -- Southern Oregon University and the University of Oregon have reached an agreement that will allow students to enroll in a dual institution program. The SOU/UO Dual Program will enable admitted students to take general education courses and live at SOU, before transferring to Eugene to finish upper-division requirements and earn degrees from UO.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed Tuesday by SOU President Mary Cullinan, UO Provost James Bean and SOU Provost James Klein on the UO campus.

In the pilot SOU/UO program, offered during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, admitted students will attend courses at SOU in Ashland for the first two years. Upon successful completion of prescribed general education coursework, and a minimum 3.0 GPA, students will then have the option to transfer to UO to finish their degrees.

"The program will expand options for students, " said Cullinan. “In addition, the universities and state will benefit from an efficient use of collective resources."

"The UO has, and will continue, to see record freshman enrollment," said Bean. "As we meet our housing capacity, we need new strategies to ensure access and allow all entering students to have the traditional residential-living experience.

"While the university is moving forward with increasing our residential accommodations, Southern Oregon has the current infrastructure in place to provide the on-campus support that can really make a difference in the academic success of each student."

This program is unique in that it allows participating students to be admitted to both universities.

Students, however, will take courses and pay tuition and fees at SOU the first two years. Once the transfer to Eugene is complete, students will pay UO's tuition and fees.

"The agreement should help increase SOU’s first-year enrollment," said Cullinan. “Students will have a personalized experience in their first two years and then the benefits of a larger institution when they complete their major.”

The program will make sure students feel connected to the UO before they transfer. Students in the SOU/UO program will be given UO email addresses and will have the opportunity to participate in special programs and activities, such as trips to UO sporting and cultural events. Staff at both schools will work closely with students to make sure transfer requirements are met and the process is smooth.

"This is an exciting partnership. SOU shares our commitment to the liberal arts and science core. Through collaboration, our two universities are offering a unique opportunity to students," said Bean. "A student can have both the small, residential campus experience and access to a larger teaching and research institution."