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New law boosts Oregon Promise Grant dollars for low-income students, expands eligibility

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Higher Education Coordinating Commission Office of Student Access and Completion is pleased to announce that thanks to the approval of Senate Bill 1522 by the Oregon Legislature and Governor Brown, low-income recipients of the Oregon Promise Grant pursuing community college will receive more funds to help with rising college costs, and eligibility for this financial aid program has been widened.

The Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps to cover tuition costs at any Oregon community college for recent high school and GED® test graduates.

With high school graduation on the horizon for many students, now is a great opportunity to remind students to complete their application for the Oregon Promise grant, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or an Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) to take advantage of this grant and other aid for which they may qualify.

With these changes, the minimum award amount—which is the amount the lowest-income grantees receive due to the way the award calculation is structured—will increase from $1,000 to $2,000 starting in the 2022-23 academic year, and this amount will be indexed in the future to increase at the same rate as the maximum grant.

The $50 per term co-pay which was previously deducted from all awards, and disproportionately burdened low-income students, will be eliminated.

Class of 2022 seniors who graduate between March 1 and June 30 who have a 2.0 cumulative, unweighted grade point average (GPA) may now qualify, while previously a 2.5 GPA was needed. Continuing students receiving the grant this fall no longer have to complete the First-Year Experience requirement to remain eligible for the grant.

Juan Báez-Arévalo, director of OSAC, says “It is great news for students that state leaders saw the need to increase support for low-income Oregon Promise recipients, whose grant amount has been frozen since 2016, while their college costs have increased. The HECC proposed these changes as part of our ongoing work to center equity in our state financial aid program design, and we are excited to better serve students with these changes.”

To apply for the Oregon Promise Grant, students must complete an Oregon Promise Grant application and the 2022-23 FAFSA or ORSAA by June 1, 2022 at 5pm. While the Oregon Promise is focused on recent high school and GED® graduates, students can qualify for many other forms of financial aid by completing a FAFSA or ORSAA, and HECC strongly recommends that anyone considering postsecondary education complete this application.

OSAC continues to work in partnership with high schools and community organizations to increase FAFSA/ORSAA rates. An important resource in this effort is the FAFSA Plus+ data sharing tool which provides schools student-level data on FAFSA completion and allows them to directly support those students who need assistance; schools can sign up here. Schools can also request FAFSA/ORSAA completion presentations from OSAC staff or view presentations here.  More information about the Oregon Promise Grant can be found on our website: www.oregonstudentaid.gov.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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