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Oregon students urged to apply soon for grants, scholarships

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s Office of Student Access and Completion is reminding all Oregonians about upcoming student financial aid application deadlines. Anyone planning to take college courses any time from fall 2021 through spring 2022 should complete their student financial aid applications as soon as possible. 

OSAC awards more than $100 million each year in state-funded grants and privately-funded scholarships to help Oregon students meet their college expenses. New and current postsecondary students can finds links to applications for federal and state-administered programs at OregonStudentAid.gov.

DETERMINING NEED - FAFSA or ORSAA: Every new and returning student must complete either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) to be considered for federal and/or state financial aid, including grants and loans. ​Most students will complete the FAFSA to determine their federal and state financial aid eligibility. Students with undocumented status, including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, will instead fill out the ORSAA—Oregon’s alternative to the FAFSA. The information provided on the FAFSA or the ORSAA will determine students' eligibility for the Oregon Promise, the Oregon Opportunity Grant, and numerous scholarships. Information provided on the ORSAA is not shared with any federal entities.

OSAC SCHOLARSHIPS:  OSAC makes it easy for Oregon students to apply for up to 40 scholarships through a single application. Students can choose from a catalog of more than 600 privately-funded scholarships. Scholarship funds are available for: graduating high school seniors; undergraduate and graduate college students; GED® students; undocumented and DACA students; homeschooled students; community college and vocational school students; single parents returning to school; and more. Students must apply online at OregonStudentAid.gov and submit a completed OSAC scholarship application and all other required materials by the final deadline of March 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (PST). Students who submit their applications by February 15, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. may be entered in a drawing to win a $1,000 OSAC Early Bird scholarship.

OREGON OPPORTUNITY GRANT: The Oregon Opportunity Grant is Oregon’s largest state-funded, need-based grant program. The grant supports low-income students (both recent high school graduates and adult learners) pursuing undergraduate degrees at eligible public and private colleges and universities. Oregon Opportunity Grants are awarded until funds are exhausted, so students should complete either the FAFSA or ORSAA as soon as possible to be automatically considered for the grant for 2021-22. 
 
OREGON PROMISE: Student receiving their high school diploma or GED® equivalent in coming months, as well as recent graduates, may be eligible for the Oregon Promise Grant. The Oregon Promise helps students pay for tuition at Oregon community colleges. Most students must apply for Oregon Promise during their senior year or immediately after GED® test completion (see full Oregon Promise deadlines). Students must meet minimum GPA requirements and enroll in a community college no later than six months after graduation. Interested students must complete an Oregon Promise application and submit a FAFSA or ORSAA by their designated deadline. Depending on program funding, awards may be limited to those under a certain Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) threshold.Due to a myriad of factors, FAFSA completion rates have been well-below average this application season. According to the national FAFSA tracker data dashboard Form Your Future, FAFSA completions among Oregon high school seniors as of January 1, 2021 were 18.7 percent lower than they were at this same time last year.

Juan Baez-Arevalo, director of OSAC, said, "Students and their families should set aside time as soon as possible to complete their application forms and learn what funding they may be eligible for. We want for all new and incoming students to be fully prepared for their postsecondary education and to not miss out on any critical funding, which may be more vital than ever in 2021."
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The State of Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) envisions a future in which all Oregonians—and especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized—benefit from the transformational power of high-quality postsecondary education and training. For more information, go to www.Oregon.gov/HigherEd   
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