Help Paying for College

December 16, 2021

Financial Aid
No matter where you are from, what kind of school you want to attend, or how much money you earn, there are financial aid opportunities for you. More than half of all college students in Oregon receive some sort of college financial aid, including:

  • Grants and scholarships – these do not have to be repaid.
  • Loans – these must be repaid with interest.
  • Work Study – students get paid for working while in school.
The Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) is designed to help you find money for college and make a plan for paying for your degree.

FAFSA & ORSAA
A key step in securing financial aid is completing either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA). U.S. citizens and eligible non-residents should complete the FAFSA. Students with undocumented and/or DACA status should fill out the ORSAA. Both applications determine a student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), and the EFC determines how much financial aid you are eligible for.
  • The FAFSA (studentaid.gov) is the primary application for federal and state grants as well as federal student loans. This includes programs like the federal Pell grant, federal Stafford loans, and the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Many need-based scholarships also require a completed FAFSA.
  • The ORSAA (oregonstudentaid.gov) is for students who cannot file a FAFSA. It serves the same purpose as the FAFSA, but ORSAA students are not eligible for federal financial aid programs. The information students provide on the ORSAA is confidential. The data is only shared with OSAC and any schools the student lists on their ORSAA. Students completing the ORSAA are still eligible for all Oregon aid programs such as the Oregon Opportunity Grant, the Oregon Promise Grant, and hundreds of OSAC Scholarships.
If you plan to attend college anytime between fall 2022 and summer 2023, you should complete your FAFSA or ORSAA as soon as possible after it opens on October 1, 2021.

Oregon Promise
If you are finishing high school or a GED® program between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, consider applying for the Oregon Promise Grant. The Oregon Promise Grant helps students pay for tuition at any Oregon community college. Eligible students must graduate from an Oregon high school with a 2.5 GPA or higher (or complete their GED®) and enroll at an Oregon community college within six months of graduation.

To apply, students need to complete their FAFSA or ORSAA and submit an Oregon Promise application at oregonstudentaid.gov. For most students who graduate between March and June, the application deadline is June 1, 2022. If you are a GED® student or are not graduating between March and June 2022, check oregonpromise.orgto find your application deadline.

OSAC Scholarships
The OSAC Scholarship Application houses more than 600 scholarships that you can access through a single application. You can apply for up to 40 scholarships that you qualify for, and there are a diverse array of scholarships in the OSAC catalog (academic and career goals, specific populations, employers and membership organizations, hometown, etc.) The application is open from November 1, 2021 until March 1, 2022. Applications submitted by February 15 can qualify for an early bird review and a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.

Additional OSAC Grants
Visit the oregonstudentaid.gov for more information on these targeted grant programs:
  • Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance – for National Guard members
  • Oregon Chafee Education and Training Grant – for current and former foster youth
  • Oregon Student Child Care Grant – for students raising children 12 or under
  • Deceased or Disabled Public Safety Officer Grant – for dependents of public safety officers

More Information 
Call OSAC at (800) 452-8807 or visit oregonstudentaid.gov for links to help you understand the financial aid process as well as information on careers, colleges, and how to fill out scholarship applications.

Weighing Costs
  • Oregon Career Information System (Oregon CIS) is available at many schools, libraries, and all Oregon Employment Department offices (oregoncis.uoregon.edu/Portal.aspx). The system helps students determine their goals and find matching programs.
  • Compare schools side-by-side based on price, programs offered, and more with The U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator tool (nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/).
  • Contact financial aid offices at the schools you are thinking of attending. Financial aid offices will have information about annual tuition, scholarships for incoming students, and application deadlines.
  • If possible, attend a local or virtual “financial aid night” workshop. These may be held by high schools and colleges, college and career fairs, and community organizations.
Source: Office of Student Access and Completion, an office of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for the State of Oregon
 

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