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Financial Aid

Paying for College

Oregon’s public universities offer a wide range of financial aid programs that help students and families pay for college. Using a combination of savings, current income, grants and scholarships, and student and parent loans, college costs can be manageable for students from all income levels. Explore the information below, and also make time to talk with your high school or community college counselor or the financial aid office at the universities you are considering. See the websites below for information on each OUS university's financial aid offerings and more on college costs: 

Applying for Financial Aid

students at Western Oregon UniversityFree Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): To apply for financial aid for college, it is very important to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available at fafsa.gov. Some government aid is “first come, first served," so in order to be considered for all types of financial aid that rely on the FAFSA, including grants, federal student loans, work study, and campus-based scholarships, complete the application as soon as possible after January 1. If you need help completing the FAFSA, contact your school’s counseling office and watch for financial aid presentations at your school or within your community.

Campus Financial Aid and Scholarships: In addition to the FAFSA deadline, be aware of the priority admissions and scholarship deadlines for the universities that interests you, which are listed in the OUS Viewbook. These deadlines are particularly important to be considered for financial aid and scholarships. All universities require an application before you can be considered for financial aid. Also, contact your high school or community college counselor, the financial aid or admissions office of the university or universities that you are interested in—or check out their websites—for listings of available scholarships.  

Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC): OSAC is an Oregon state agency that administers a number of Oregon financial aid programs including the Oregon Opportunity Grant and hundreds of scholarships for Oregon students.

  • www.OregonStudentAid.gov is a website hosted by OSAC where you can learn how to plan for college, pay for college, manage your debt, research hundreds of scholarships available for Oregon students, and apply for numerous scholarships with just one application.
  • Oregon Opportunity Grant: This state-funded grant program provides financial aid to low- and moderate-income students in Oregon. Students of all ages can be eligible, including full time and half-time undergraduate students.  You can apply for the Oregon Opportunity Grant by submitting the FAFSA.

Veteran’s Financial Aid: Federal and state financial aid benefits are available for veterans starting or returning to college. For comprehensive information, contact the financial aid or veterans afairs office at the university you wish to attend. The following veteran financial aid and tuition waiver programs are administered by or partnered with the Oregon University System:

Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver

In July 2011, The State of Oregon passed into legislation House Bill 3471, the Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver, and it is effective with the 2012-2013 academic year.  Eligible OUS students may receive the Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver for the equivalent of four years of undergraduate education. An information sheet for students on the Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waver is linked to below:

For more information about eligibility and protocols for institutions on the waiver, go here.

Tuition Equity

Tuition equity in the OUS system means that undocumented students who earn a high school diploma or GED in Oregon and meet certain other requirements will be allowed to pay resident tuition rates, and will not be required to pay nonresident tuition rates for a set period of time.  On April 2, 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law the legislative bill on tuition equity, House Bill 2787, directing the Oregon State Board of Higher Education to provide tuition equity at Oregon's public universities. For more information and requirements, see below:

GEAR UP Scholarship Program: Beginning in 2014, students participating in the Oregon GEAR UP program  in the 2008-2014 cohort may be eligible for a GEAR UP scholarship. Students who have engaged in school-required GEAR UP activities, enroll in an accredited U.S. college or university, and submit an application through the Oregon Student Access Commission will be eligible.

Work and Savings Opportunities

More Financial Aid Resources

  • The Student Guide - a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education covering major aid programs, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and PLUS Loans..
  • U.S. Department of Education - Offers useful information on higher education, scholarships, financial aid, and other resources.
  • NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) College Information Center - Lists colleges with information on actual college costs, location, programs, and degree offerings.
  • Common Mistakes To Avoid When Completing The FAFSA - National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • Pay for College, College Board - Provides detailed information on scholarships, financial counseling, and loan information. 
  • FinAid!  - Information on scholarships and financial aid.