“Having a university here means I can actually afford to get my degree.”

For most students, the cost of higher education is a burden they cannot afford. Across the country, this crisis is burying our younger generation in debt and causing them to abandon higher education altogether.

These challenges aren’t unique to younger students. Adults returning for their degrees also struggle to afford them. And while they strive to gain new skills to improve and advance professionally, they are also working to support their families.

A local, accessible campus revitalizes opportunities for all students to create a better life for themselves – at a cost they can sustain.

My Why Now


I graduated with my Associates degree from COCC in 1998; it was as far as I could go without leaving Central Oregon. Last fall, I stepped down as mayor of Madras to enroll (at age 41) at OSU Cascades in business administration. I will be the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I’m thankful to many who are persevering to make the new westside campus a reality.

Melanie WIdmer, President of MSS & Past Mayor of Madras

A four year university campus would decrease the volatility of our local economy by increasing the diversity of companies and jobs located here. The chosen site is beautiful and will attract students and faculty from all over the world. In addition, the location does not contribute to urban sprawl and the project will heal a damaged, yet historical tract of land.

G. Matt Sybrant, a graduating OSU-C double major (business and international studies), EDCO intern, and Bend 2030 board member

I am a mother, I am a community member, I am 33 years old woman, I have lived in Bend for 9 years, and I am the traditional OSU-Cascades Bend Beaver. We want a 4 year University on the West Side of Bend because that is where we live, that is where we play, that is where we shop. Our students are committed to making the Bend community the best it can be—we are investing in public transportation to make it better for our entire community. We want our children to be in the best schools and daycare’s, we want to take our dogs to the best parks, and we want to bike the coolest trails. Most of us are in Bend for the same reason everyone else is: we were born here or we love it here.

Carolina Rosie Laurie
Rylea Quote Photo

OSU Cascades serves a diverse group of students enriching the lives of many in a variety of age groups. Cascades offers a unique college setting focused on community, the outdoors, service to others and a clear drive towards achievement in education. Our campus can see the greatness within us even when we cannot see it within ourselves. I look forward to seeing the schools progression and receiving the support from the community this campus deserves in moving forward with the Westside campus to continue serving this community in a positive way.

Rylea Erickson, Associated Students of Cascades Campus Legislative Coordinator, OSU Cascades Junior-Human Development and Family Science Major
Dana Whitelaw Quote Photo

The High Desert Museum is fortunate to collaborate with OSU-Cascades on several projects, including the STEM Hub. Through this partnership, we are building STEM literacy in Central Oregon by creating pathways for our community’s students, teachers and professionals to pursue science, technology, engineering and math opportunities. The museum could not do this without this vital partnership with OSU-Cascades. Collaborating with this four-year university brings a level of expertise that elevates the Museum’s educational programs and creates robust learning opportunities for the region.

Dana Whitelaw, Executive Director, High Desert Museum

As a student who lives on the Westside, works on the Westside, and takes all my classes on the Westside of town, having the campus on the Westside is ideal. It accommodates my budget and schedule, as well as provides more resources for transportation. If the campus was built somewhere else, it would decrease my opportunity for education and network growth in our community.

Kaitlin Vernon

I am a 51-year-old senior at OSU- Cascades. Attending a four-year university in Bend has been the best thing that ever happened to me because it gave me my future back. I came from a place of hopelessness to a place which is filled with hope of an exciting future. Can we please support OSU-Cascades here in Bend so others may have this same opportunity?

Kevin Turley